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  A. F. POLLARD M.A., Litt.D.
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    First Published in 1920
    The manuscript of this book, except the
last chapter, was finished on 21 May 1919,
and the revision of the last chapter was com-
pleted in October. It may be some relief to
a public, distracted by the apologetic del-
uge which has followed on the peace, to find
how little the broad and familiar outlines of
the war have thereby been affected.
    A. F. P.
    On 28 June 1914 the Archduke Francis
Ferdinand, heir-presumptive to the Haps-
burg throne, was shot in the streets of Ser-
ajevo, the capital of the Austrian province
of Bosnia. Redeemed by the Russo-Turkish
war of 1876-7 from Ottoman rule, Bosnia
had by the Congress of Berlin in 1878 been
entrusted to Austrian administration; but
in 1908, fearing lest a Turkey rejuvenated
by the Young Turk revolution should seek
to revive its claims on Bosnia, the Austrian
Government annexed on its own authority
a province confided to its care by a Euro-
pean mandate. This arbitrary act was only
challenged on paper at the time; but the
striking success of Serbia in the Balkan wars
of 1912-13 brought out the dangers and de-
fects of Austrian policy. For the Serbs were
kin to the great majority of the Bosnian
people and to millions of other South Slavs
who were subject to the Austrian crown
and discontented with its repressive govern-
ment; and the growing prestige of Serbia
bred hopes and feelings of Slav national-
ity on both sides of the Hapsburg frontier.
The would-be and the real assassins of the
Archduke, while technically Austrian sub-
jects, were Slavs by birth, and the murder
brought to a head the antagonism between
a race becoming conscious of its possibil-
ities and a government determined to re-
press them. The crime gave a moral ad-
vantage to the oppressor, but the guilt has
yet to be apportioned, and instigation may
have come from secret sources within the
Hapsburg empire; for the Archduke was hated
by dominant cliques on account of his al-
leged pro-Slav sympathies and his suspected
intention of admitting his future Slav sub-
jects to a share in political power.
    For some weeks after the murder it bade
fair to pass without a European crisis, for
the public was unaware of what happened
at a secret conclave held at Potsdam on 5
July. It was there decided that Germany
should support to the uttermost whatever
claims Austria might think fit to make on
Serbia for redress, and she was encouraged
to put them so high as either to ensure the
domination of the Balkans by the Central
Empires through Serbian submission, or to
provoke a war by which alone the German
militarists thought that German aims could
be achieved. That was the purport of the
demands presented to Serbia on 23 July:
acceptance would have reduced her to a de-
pendence less formal but little less real than
that of Bosnia, while the delay in present-
ing the demands was used to complete the
preparations for war which rejection would
provoke. It was not, however, against Ser-
bia that the German moves were planned.
She could be left to Austria, while Ger-
many dealt with the Powers which would
certainly be involved by the attack on Ser-
bian independence.
    The great Power immediately concerned
was Russia, which had long aspired to an
outlet into European waters not blocked by
winter ice or controlled by Baltic States.
For that and for the less interested reasons
of religion and racial sympathy she had fought
scores of campaigns against the Turks which
culminated in the liberation of most of the
Balkans in 1878; and she could not stand
idle while the fruits of her age-long efforts
were gathered by the Central Empires and
she herself was cut off from the Mediter-
ranean by an obstacle more fatal than Turk-
ish dominion in the form of a Teutonic cor-
ridor from Berlin to Baghdad. Serbia, too,
Orthodox in religion and Slav in race, was
more closely bound to Russia than was any
other Balkan State; and an attack on Serbia
was a deadly affront to the Russian Empire.
It was not intended as anything else. Rus-
sia was slowly recovering from her defeat
in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5 and
from the revolutionary outbreaks which had
followed; and there was little doubt that
sooner or later she would seek compensa-
tion for the rebuffs she had suffered from
the mailed fist during her impotence. Con-
science made Germany sensitive to the Slav
peril, and her militarist philosophy taught
her that the best defence was to get her
blow in first. Her diplomacy in July was
directed towards combining this advantage
with the appearance, needed to bemuse her
people and the world at large, of acting in
    But Russia was the object of Germany’s
diplomatic activity rather than of her mili-
tary preparations. It was thought that Rus-
sia could not mobilize in less than six weeks
or strike effectively in less than two or three
months, and that that interval would suf-
fice for the crushing of France, who was
bound by treaty to intervene if Russia were
attacked. The German mobilization was
therefore directed first against France, de-
fence against Russia being left to second-
line German troops and to an Austrian of-
fensive. The defeat of France was not, how-
ever, regarded by Germans as a mere in-
cident in a war against Russia; for it was
a cardinal point in the programme of the
militarists, whose mind was indiscreetly re-
vealed by Bernhardi, that France must be
so completely crushed that she could never
again cross Germany’s path. To French-
men the war appeared to be mainly a con-
tinuation of the national duel which had
been waged since the sixteenth century. To
Great Britain it appeared, on the other hand,
as the forcible culmination of a new rivalry
for colonial empire and the dominion of the
seas. But these were in truth but local as-
pects of a comprehensive German ambition
expressed in the antithesis Weltmacht oder
Niedergang. Bismarck had made the Ger-
man Empire and raised it to the first place
as a European Power. Europe, it was dis-
covered, was a small portion of the globe;
and Bismarck’s successful methods were now
to be used on a wider scale to raise Ger-
many to a similar predominance in the world.
The Serbian plot was merely the lever to set
the whole machinery working, and German
activities all the world over from Belgrade
and Petrograd to Constantinople, Ulster,
and Mexico were parts in a comprehensive
    But while the German sword was pointed
everywhere, its hilt was in Berlin. Prus-
sia supplied the mind which conceived the
policy and controlled its execution; and in
the circumstances of the Prussian Govern-
ment must be sought the mainspring of the
war. The cause of the war was not the
Serbian imbroglio nor even German rivalry
with Russia, France, or Britain. These were
the occasions of its outbreak and extension;
but national rivalries always exist and oc-
casions for war are never wanting. They
only result in war when one of the parties
to the dispute wants to break the peace; and
the Prussian will-to-war was due to the do-
mestic situation of a Prussian government
which had been made by the sword and
had realized before 1914 that it could not
be maintained without a further use of the
sword. That government was the work of
Bismarck, who had been called to power in
1863 to save the Hohenzollerns from sub-
jection to Parliament and had found in the
Danish and Austrian wars of 1864 and 1866
the means of solving the constitutional is-
sue at Berlin. The cannon of K¨niggratz
proved more convincing than Liberal argu-
ments; and the methods of blood and iron,
by which Bismarck, Moltke, and Roon con-
quered Denmark, Austria, and France and
annexed to Prussia the greater part of Ger-
man soil, impressed upon Germany a con-
stitution in which the rule of the sword was
merely concealed behind a skilfully emascu-
lated parliamentary system. The Reichstag
with its universal suffrage was the scabbard
of the Prussian sword, and it was because
the sword could not do the work required
of it while it lay in the scabbard that it was
drawn in 1914.
    Since 1871 the object of every Prussian
Government had been to reconcile the Ger-
man people to the veiled rule of the sword
by exhibiting results which, it was contended,
could not otherwise have been secured. His-
torians dwelt on the failure of the German
Parliament at Frankfurt to promote a na-
tional unity which was left for Prussian arms
to achieve, and philosophers deduced from
that example a comprehensive creed of might.
More material arguments were provided for
the man in business and in the street by
the skilful activities of the Government in
promoting trade, industry, and social wel-
fare; and the wealth, which would in any
case have accrued from the removal of the
tariff-walls and other barriers between the
thirty-nine independent States of Germany,
was credited to the particular method of
war by which the unification had been ac-
complished. No State had hitherto made
such economic progress as did the German
Empire in the generation after Metz and
Sedan, and the success of their rulers led
most of the German people to place implicit
reliance on the testimony those rulers bore
to the virtue of their means. The means did
not, however, commend themselves to the
rest of the world with equal conviction; and
an increasing aversion to the mailed fist on
the part of other countries led to what Ger-
mans called the hostile encirclement of their
Fatherland. Gradually it became clearer
that Prussian autocracy could not repro-
duce in the sphere of world-ambitions the
success which had attended it in Germany
unless it could reduce the world to the same
submission by the use of similar arguments.
    But still the Prussian Government was
driven towards imperialistic expansion by
the ever-increasing force of public opinion
and popular discontent. It could only pur-
chase renewed leases of autocratic power at
home, with its perquisites for those who
wielded and supported autocracy, by feed-
ing the minds of the people with diplomatic
triumphs and their bodies with new mar-
kets for commercial and industrial expan-
sion; and the incidents of military domina-
tion grew ever more irksome to the popu-
lace. The middle classes were fairly content,
and the parties which represented them in
the Reichstag offered no real opposition to
Prussian ideas of government. But the So-
cial Democrats were more radical in their
principles and were regarded by Prussian
statesmen as open enemies of the Prussian
State. Rather than submit to social democ-
racy Prussians avowed their intention of mak-
ing war, and war abroad would serve their
turn a great deal better than civil strife.
The hour was rapidly advancing two years
before the war broke out. The German re-
buff over Agadir in 1911 was followed by
a general election in 1912 at which the So-
cial Democrats polled nearly a third of the
votes and secured by far the largest repre-
sentation of any party in the Reichstag. In
1913, after a particularly violent expression
of militarism called ”the Zabern incident,”
the Reichstag summoned up courage for the
first time in its history to pass a vote of
censure on the Government. The ground
was slipping from under the feet of Prus-
sian militarism; it must either fortify its po-
sition by fresh victories or take the risk of
revolution. It preferred the chances of Eu-
ropean war, and found in the Serbian inci-
dent a means of provoking a war the blame
for which could be laid at others’ doors.
    The German Kaiser played but a sec-
ondary part in these transactions. It is true
that the German constitution placed in his
hands the command of the German Army
and Navy and the control of foreign policy;
but no paper or parchment could give him
the intellect to direct the course of human
affairs. He had indeed dismissed Bismarck
in 1890, but dropping the pilot did not qual-
ify him to guide the ship of state, and he
was himself in 1906 compelled to submit to
the guidance of his ministers. The shallow
waters of his mind spread over too vast a
sphere of activity to attain any depth, and
he had the foibles of Frederick the Great
without his courage or his capacity. His
barbaric love of pomp betrayed the poverty
of his spirit and exhibited a monarchy re-
duced from power to a pageant. He was not
without his generous impulses or exalted
sentiments, and there was no section of the
British public, from Mr. Ramsay Macdon-
ald to Mr. Rudyard Kipling and the ”Daily
Mail,” to which one or other of his guises
had not commended itself; it pleased him
to pose as the guardian of the peace of Eu-
rope, the champion of civilization against
the Boxers, and of society against red rev-
olution. But vanity lay at the root of all
these manifestations, and he took himself
not less seriously as an arbiter of letters,
art, and religion than as a divinely appointed
ruler of the State. The many parts he played
were signs of versatile emotion rather than
of power; and his significance in history is
that he was the crest of a wave, its super-
ficial froth and foam without its massive
strength. A little man in a great position,
he was powerless to ride the whirlwind or
direct the storm, and he figured largely in
the public eye because he vented through
an imperial megaphone the fleeting catch-
words of the vulgar mind.
    After Agadir he had often been called a
coward behind his back, and it was whis-
pered that his throne would be in danger if
that surrender were repeated. He had mer-
ited these reproaches because no one had
done more than he to inflate the arrogance
of his people, and his eldest son took the
lead in exasperating public opinion behind
the scenes. The militarists, with consider-
able backing from financial and commercial
groups, were bent on war, and war appeals
to the men in the streets of all but the
weakest countries. The mass of the peo-
ple had not made up their mind for a war
that was not defensive; but modern govern-
ments have ample means for tuning pub-
lic opinion, and with a people so accus-
tomed as the Germans to accept the truth
from above, their rulers would have little
difficulty, when once they had agreed upon
war, in representing it as one of defence.
It is, however, impossible to say when, if
ever, the rulers of Germany agreed to at-
tack; and to the last the Imperial Chancel-
lor, Bethmann-Hollweg, struggled to delay
if not to avert the breach. But he gradually
lost his grip on the Kaiser. The decisive fac-
tor in the Emperor’s mind may have been
the rout in 1912-13 of the Turks, on whom
Germany had staked her credit in return for
control of the Berlin-Baghdad route; for the
free Balkan confederation, which loomed on
the horizon, would bar for ever German ex-
pansion towards the East. The Balkan States
themselves provided the German opportu-
nity; the Treaty of Bukarest in 1913 en-
trenched discord in their hearts and reopened
a path for German ambition and intrigue.
Austria, not without the usual instigation,
proposed to Italy a joint attack upon Ser-
bia; the offer was not accepted, but by the
winter of 1913-14 the Kaiser had gone over
to the party which had resolved upon war
and was seeking an occasion to palliate the
    The immeasurable distance between the
cause and the occasion was shown by the
fact that Belgium was the first to suffer
in an Austro-Serbian dispute; and the uni-
versal character of the issue was foreshad-
owed by the breach of its neutrality. Ger-
many would not have planned for two years
past an offensive through that inoffensive,
unconcerned, and distant country, had the
cause of the war been a murder at Sera-
jevo. The cause was a comprehensive de-
termination on the German part to settle
international issues by the sword, and it
involved the destinies of civilization. The
blow was aimed directly or indirectly at the
whole world, and Germany’s only prospect
of success lay in the chance that most of the
world would fail to perceive its implications
or delay too long its effective intervention.
It was the defect of her self-idolatry and
concentration that she could not develop an
international mind or fathom the mentality
of other peoples. She could not conceive
how England would act on a ”scrap of pa-
per,” and never dreamt of American par-
ticipation. But she saw that Russia and
France would inevitably and immediately
be involved in war by the attempt at armed
dictation in the Balkans, and that the is-
sue would decide the fate of Europe. The
war would therefore be European and could
only be won by the defeat of France and
Russia. Serbia would be merely the scene
of local and unimportant operations, and,
Russia being the slower to move, the bulk
of the German forces were concentrated on
the Rhine for the purpose of overwhelming
    The condition of French politics was one
of the temptations which led the Prussian
militarists to embark upon the hazard. France
had had her troubles with militarism, and
its excesses over the Dreyfus case had pro-
duced a reaction from which both the army
command and its political ally the Church
had suffered. A wave of national secular-
ism carried a law against ecclesiastical as-
sociations which drove religious orders from
France, and international Socialism found
vent in a pacifist agitation against the terms
of military service. A rapid succession of
unstable ministries, which the group system
in French parliamentary politics encouraged,
militated against sound and continuous ad-
ministration; and in April 1914 a series of
revelations in the Senate had thrown an
unpleasant light upon the efficiency of the
army organization. On military grounds
alone there was much to be said for the
German calculation that in six weeks the
French armies could be crushed and Paris
reached. But the Germans paid the French
the compliment of believing that this suc-
cess could not be achieved before Russia
made her weight felt, unless the Germans
broke the international guarantees on which
the French relied, and sought in Belgium
an easier and less protected line of advance
than through the Vosges.
    For that crime public opinion was not
prepared either in France or England, but
it had for two years at least been the settled
policy of the German military staff, and it
had even been foretold in England a year
before that the German attack would pro-
ceed by way of Li`ge and Namur. There had
also been military ”conversations” between
Belgian and British officers with regard to
possible British assistance in the event of
Germany’s violation of Belgian neutrality.
But the Belgian Ministry was naturally re-
luctant to proceed far on that assumption,
which might have been treated as an insult
by an honest or dishonest German Govern-
ment; and it was impossible for England
to press its assistance upon a neutralized
State which could not even discuss it with-
out casting a slur upon the honour of its
most powerful neighbour. Nor was Eng-
land bound by treaty to defend the neu-
trality of Belgium. She had been so bound
by a treaty concluded during the Franco-
Prussian War; but that treaty expired in
the following year, and the treaty of 1839,
which regulated the international situation
of Belgium, merely bound the five great sig-
natory Powers not to violate Belgian neu-
trality without obliging them individually
or collectively to resist its violation. It was
not in fact regarded in 1839 as conceivable
that any of the Great Powers would ever
violate so solemn a pledge, and there was
some complacent satisfaction that by thus
neutralizing a land which had for centuries
been the cockpit of Europe, the Powers had
laid the foundations of permanent peace.
But the bond of international morality was
loosened during the next half-century, and
in the eighties even English newspapers ar-
gued in favour of a German right-of-way
through Belgium for the purposes of war
with France. It does not appear that the
treaty was ever regarded as a serious obsta-
cle by the German military staff; for neither
treaties nor morality belong to the curric-
ula of military science which had concluded
that encirclement was the only way to de-
feat a modern army, and that through Bel-
gium alone could the French defence be en-
circled. The Chancellor admitted that tech-
nically Germany was wrong, and promised
full reparation after the war. But he was
never forgiven the admission, even by Ger-
man jurists, who argued that treaties were
only binding rebus sic stantibus, while the
conditions in which they were signed re-
mained substantially the same; and Ger-
mans had long cast covetous eyes on the
Congo State, the possession of which, they
contended, was inconsistent with Belgium’s
legal immunity from attack in Europe.
    The opposition of Bethmann-Hollweg and
the German foreign office was accordingly
brushed aside, and the army made all prepa-
rations for an invasion of France through
Belgium. The diplomatists would have made
a stouter resistance had they anticipated
the attitude England was to adopt. But
the German ambassador in London, Prince
Lichnowsky, failed to convince his Govern-
ment that there was anything to fear from
the British Empire. Mr. Lloyd George has
claimed it as one of the advantages we de-
rive from the British press that it misleads
public opinion abroad, and a study of ”The
Times,” the only British newspaper that
carries much weight in foreign countries, may
well have persuaded the German Govern-
ment in 1914 that eight years of Liberal
administration were not likely to have pro-
vided England with the means, or left it
the spirit, to challenge the might of Ger-
many. She was known to have entered into
no binding alliance with France or Russia;
the peace had never in all their history been
broken between the two great Protestant
Powers; and, while there had been serious
naval and colonial rivalry and some diplo-
matic friction, relations in 1913-14 seemed
to have entered calmer waters. Germany
had been well satisfied with the efforts and
sacrifices England had made to prevent the
Balkan crisis from developing into a Eu-
ropean war; and Lichnowsky was success-
fully negotiating treaties which gave Ger-
many unexpected advantages with regard
to the Baghdad railway and African colo-
nization. On the eve of war the English
were hailed as cousins in Berlin, and the
earliest draft of the German official apology,
intended for American consumption, spoke
of Great Britain and Germany labouring
shoulder to shoulder to preserve the peace
against Russian aggression. The anger of
the Kaiser, the agitation of the Chancellor,
and the fury of the populace when England
declared war showed that Germany had no
present intention of adding the British Em-
pire to her list of enemies and little fear that
it would intervene unless it were attacked.
Any anxiety she may have felt was soothed
by the studied assumption that England’s
desire, if any, to intervene would be effec-
tively checked by her domestic situation.
Agents from Ulster were buying munitions
to fight Home Rule with official connivance
in Germany, and it was confidently expected
that war would shake a ramshackle British
Empire to its foundations; there would be
rebellions in Ireland, India, and South Africa,
and the self-governing Dominions would at
least refuse to participate in Great Britain’s
European adventures. In such circumstances
”the flannelled fool at the wicket and the
muddied oaf at the goal” might be trusted
to hug his island security and stick to his
idle sports; and the most windy and patri-
otic of popular British weeklies was at the
end of July placarding the streets of London
with the imprecation ”To hell with Servia.”
    The object of German diplomacy was to
avoid offence to British susceptibilities, and
the first requisite was to keep behind the
scenes. The Kaiser went off on a yachting
cruise to Norway, where, however, he was
kept in constant touch with affairs, while
Austria on 23 July presented her ultima-
tum to the Serbian Government. The terms
amounted to a demand for the virtual sur-
render of Serbian independence, and were
in fact intended to be rejected. Serbia, how-
ever, acting on Russian and other advice,
accepted them all except two, which she
asked should be referred to the Hague Tri-
bunal. Austria refused on the ground that
the dispute was not of a justiciable nature;
and the meagre five days’ grace having ex-
pired on the 28th, Austrian troops crossed
the Save and occupied Belgrade, the Ser-
bians withdrawing without resistance. Mean-
while feverish activity agitated the chan-
celleries of Europe. The terms of the ul-
timatum had been discussed by the British
Cabinet on Friday the 24th, and the British
Fleet, which had been reviewed at Spithead
on the previous Saturday, was, instead of
dispersing at Portland, kept together, and
then, on the 29th, dispatched to its war
stations in the North Sea. Simultaneously
the German High Seas Fleet withdrew on
the 26th to Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. Rus-
sia replied to the Austrian invasion of Ser-
bia by mobilizing her southern command
and extending the mobilization, as the hand
of Germany became more apparent, to her
northern armies. Sir Edward Grey made
unceasing efforts to avert the clash of arms
by peaceable negotiation, and proposed a
conference of the four Great Powers not im-
mediately concerned in the dispute–Germany,
France, Italy, and Great Britain. Germany,
knowing that she would stand alone in the
conference, declined. The dispute, she pre-
tended, was merely a local affair between
Austria and Serbia, in which no other Power
had the right to intervene. But she refused
to localize the dispute to the extent of re-
garding it as a Balkan conflict between the
interests of Austria and Russia. Austria
was less unyielding when it became evident
that Russia would draw the sword rather
than acquiesce in Serbia’s subjection, and
on the 30th it seemed that the way had been
opened for a settlement by direct negoti-
ation between Vienna and Petrograd. At
that moment Germany threw off the diplo-
matic disguise of being a pacific second to
her Austrian friend, and cut the web of ar-
gument by an ultimatum to Russia on the
31st. Fear lest the diplomatists should baulk
them of their war had already led the Ger-
man militarists to publish in their press the
unauthorized news of a complete German
mobilization, and on 1-2 August German
armies crossed the frontiers. It was not till
some days later that war was declared be-
tween Austria and any of the Allies; the war
from first to last was made in Germany.
    Throughout that week-end the British
Cabinet remained in anxious conclave. The
Unionist leaders early assured it of their
support in any measures they might think
fit to take to vindicate Great Britain’s hon-
our and obligations; but they could not re-
lieve it of its own responsibility, and the
question did not seem as easy to answer
as it has done since the conduct of Ger-
many and the nature of her ambitions have
been revealed. A purely Balkan conflict
did not appear to be an issue on which
to stake the fortunes of the British Em-
pire. We were not even bound to inter-
vene in a trial of strength between the Cen-
tral Empires and Russia and France, for
on 1 August Italy decided that the action
of the Central Empires was aggressive and
that therefore she was not required by the
Triple Alliance to participate. There had
in the past been a tendency on the part
of France to use both the Russian alliance
and English friendship for purposes in Mo-
rocco and elsewhere which had not been
quite relished in England; and intervention
in continental wars between two balanced
alliances would have found few friends but
for recent German chauvinism. It might
well seem that in the absence of definite
obligations and after having exhausted all
means of averting war, Great Britain was
entitled to maintain an attitude of benev-
olent neutrality, reserving her efforts for a
later period when better prepared she might
intervene with greater effect between the
exhausted belligerents.
    Such arguments, if they were used, were
swept aside by indignation at Germany’s
conduct. Doubts might exist of the purely
defensive intentions of France and Russia;
each State had its ultra-patriots who had
done their best to give away their country’s
case; and if Russia was suspect of Panslav-
ist ambition, France was accused of build-
ing up a colonial empire in North Africa in
order to throw millions of coloured troops
into the scale for the recovery of Alsace-
Lorraine. But no such charge could be brought
against Belgium. She had no interest and
no intention but to live in peace with her
neighbours, and that peace had been guar-
anteed her by international contract. If such
a title to peace was insecure there could be
no security for the world and nothing but
subservience for little nations. The public
sense which for a century had been accus-
tomed to welcome national independence
wherever it raised its head–in Greece, the
Balkans, Italy, Hungary, Poland, the South
American Republics–revolted at its denial
to Belgium in the interest of German mili-
tary aggression; and censure of the breach
of international contract was converted to
passion by the wrong wantonly done to a
weak and peaceful by a mighty and ambi-
tious Power. Great Britain was not liter-
ally bound to intervene; but if ever there
was a moral obligation on a country, it lay
upon her now, and the instant meeting of
that obligation implied an instinctive recog-
nition of the character of the war that was
to be fought. Mixed and confused though
the national issues might be in various quar-
ters, the war, so far as concerned the two
Powers who were to be mainly instrumental
in its winning, was a civil war of mankind
to determine the principle upon which in-
ternational relations should repose.
    That issue was not for every one to see,
and there were many to whom the strug-
gle was merely national rivalry in which the
interests of England happened to coincide
with those of France and in which we should
have intervened just the same without any
question of Belgium’s neutrality. Whether
it might have been so can never be deter-
mined. But it is certain that no such strug-
gle would have enlisted the united sympa-
thies and whole-hearted devotion of the British
realms, still less those of the United States,
and in it we might well have been defeated.
From that division and possible defeat we
and the world were saved by Germany’s de-
cision that military advantage outweighed
moral considerations. The invasion of Bel-
gium and Luxemburg united the British Em-
pire on the question of intervention. Three
ministers alone out of more than forty–Lord
Morley, Mr. John Burns, and Mr. C. P.
Trevelyan–dissented from the Cabinet’s de-
cision, and the minority in the nation was of
still more slender proportions. Parliament
supported the Ministry without a division
when on 4 August England declared war.
     Had we counted the cost? the German
Chancellor asked our ambassador in Berlin
on the eve of the declaration. The cost
would not have affected our decision, but
it was certainly not anticipated, and the
Entente was ill-prepared to cope with the
strength displayed by Germany. The British
Navy was, indeed, as ready as the German
Army, and the command of the sea passed
automatically into our hands when the Ger-
man Fleet withdrew from the North Sea on
26 July. But for that circumstance not a
single division could have been sent across
the sea, and the war would have been over
in a few months. Nor was the British Army
unprepared for the task that had been al-
lotted to it in anticipation. It was the judg-
ment not only of our own but of Allied Staffs
that an expeditionary force of six divisions
would suffice to balance German superior-
ity in the West; and that force, consisting
of better material better trained than any
other army in the field, was in its place in
the line of battle hundreds of miles from its
base within three weeks of the declaration
of war. The real miscalculation was of the
respective strength of France and Germany,
and no one had foreseen that it would ulti-
mately require three times the force that
France could put in the field to liberate
French soil from the German invader. The
National Service League would have pro-
vided us with a large army; but even its
proposals were vitiated by their assump-
tion that these forces were needed to do the
navy’s work of home-defence, and by the
absence of provision for munitions, with-
out which sending masses of men into bat-
tle was sending them to useless slaughter.
Time was needed to remedy these miscalcu-
lations, but time was provided by our com-
mand of the sea, about which there had
been no misjudgment and no lack of pre-
vision. We made our mistakes before, and
during the war, but neither Mr. Asquith’s
Governments nor that of his successor need
fear comparison with those of our Allies or
our enemies on that account; and it is merely
a modest foible of the people, which has
hardly lost a war for nearly four hundred
years, to ascribe its escape to fortune, and
to envy the prescience and the science which
have lightened the path of its enemies to de-
    Germany began the war on the West-
ern front before it was declared, and on 1-2
August German cavalry crossed the French
frontier between Luxemburg and Switzer-
land at three points in the direction of Longwy,
Lun´ville, and Belfort. But these were only
feints designed to prolong the delusion that
Germany would attack on the only front
legitimately open to warfare and to delay
the reconstruction of the French defence re-
quired to meet the real offensive. The rea-
sons for German strategy were conclusive to
the General Staff, and they were frankly ex-
plained by Bethmann-Hollweg to the British
ambassador. There was no time to lose
if France was to be defeated before an ef-
fective Russian move, and time would be
lost by a frontal attack. The best railways
and roads from Berlin to Paris ran through
Belgium; the Vosges protected more than
half of the French frontier south of Luxem-
burg, Belfort defended the narrow gap be-
tween them and Switzerland, and even the
wider thirty miles’ gap between the north-
ern slopes of the Vosges and Luxemburg
was too narrow for the deployment of Ger-
many’s strength; the way was also barred
by the elaborate fortifications of Verdun,
Toul, and Nancy. Strategy pointed conclu-
sively to the Belgian route, and its advan-
tages were clinched by the fact that France
was relying on the illusory scrap of paper.
Her dispositions assumed an attack in Lor-
raine, and her northern fortifications round
Lille, Maubeuge, and Hirson were feeble com-
pared with those of Belfort, Toul, and Ver-
dun. Given a rapid and easy march through
Belgium, the German armies would turn
the left flank of the French defence and cut
it off from the capital. Hence the resis-
tance of Belgium had a great military im-
portance apart from its moral value. To
its lasting honour the Belgian Government
had scorned the German proposal for con-
nivance even in the attractive form which
would have limited the German use of Bel-
gian territory to the eastern bank of the
    Haste and contempt for the Belgian Army,
whose imperfect organization was due to
a natural reliance on the neutrality which
Germany had guaranteed, accounted for the
first derangement of German plans. The in-
vasion began towards Vis´, near the Dutch
frontier where the direct road from Aix to
Brussels crosses the Meuse, but the main
advance-guard followed the trunk railway
from Berlin to Paris via Venders and Li`ge.
It was, however, inadequately mobilized and
equipped, and was only intended to clear
away an opposition which was not expected
to be serious. The Belgians fought more
stubbornly than was anticipated; and aided
by Brialmont’s fortification of Li`ge, although
his plans for defence were not properly ex-
ecuted, they held up the Germans for two
days in front of the city. It was entered
on 7 August, but its fall did not give the
Germans the free passage they wanted; for
the forts on the heights to the north com-
manded the railway, and the Germans con-
tented themselves with bringing up their
transport and 11 2 in. howitzers. Brial-
mont had not foreseen the explosive force
of modern shells, and two days’ bombard-
ment on the 13th-15th reduced the remain-
ing forts, in spite of their construction un-
derground, to a mass of shell-holes with a
handful of wounded or unconscious survivors.
The last to be reduced was Fort Loncin,
whose gallant commander, General Leman,
was found poisoned and half-dead from suf-
focation. He had succeeded in delaying the
German advance for a momentous week.
    No more could be done with the forces
at his disposal, and the German masses of
infantry were pouring across the Meuse at
    e            e
Vis´, towards Li`ge by Verviers, up the right
bank of the Meuse towards Namur, and far-
ther south through the Ardennes. The Ger-
man cavalry which spread over the coun-
try east and north-east of Brussels and was
sometimes repulsed by the Belgians, was
merely a screen, which defective air-work
failed to penetrate, and the frequent en-
gagements were merely the brushes of out-
posts. Within a week from the fall of Fort
Loncin half of Belgium was overrun and the
real menace revealed. Belgium was power-
less before the avalanche, and its only hope
lay in France. But the French Army was
still mobilizing on its northern front, and
its incursions into Alsace and Lorraine did
nothing to relieve the pressure. The Bel-
gians had to fall back towards Antwerp, un-
covering Brussels, which was occupied by
the Germans on the 20th and mulcted in
a preliminary levy of eight million pounds,
and leaving to the fortifications of Namur
the task of barring the German advance to
the northern frontiers of France. Namur
proved a broken reed. The troops which
paraded through Brussels with impressive
pomp and regularity were only a detail of
the extreme right wing of the invading force;
the mass was advancing along the north
bank of the Meuse and overrunning the whole
of Belgium south and east of the river. On
the 15th an attempt to seize Dinant and the
river crossing above Namur was repulsed
by French artillery; but there was appar-
ently no cavalry to follow up this success,
and the Germans were allowed to bring up
their heavy howitzers for the bombardment
of Namur without disturbance. It began
on the 20th, and, unsupported by the Al-
lied assistance for which they looked, the
Belgians were panic-stricken; on the 23rd
the city and most of the forts were in Ger-
man hands though two resisted until the
26th. The Germans had not, as at Li`ge,  e
wasted their infantry in premature attacks,
and with little loss to them, a fortress re-
puted impregnable had been captured, the
greater part of the southern Belgian Army
destroyed, and the provisional plan of French
defence frustrated. The fall of Namur was
the first resounding success of the Germans
in the war.
    Its loss was not redeemed by the French
offensive in Alsace and Lorraine. On 7 Au-
gust a weak French force advanced through
the Belfort gap and, finding still weaker forces
to oppose it, proceeded to occupy Altkirch
and Mulhouse, while a proclamation by Gen-
eral Joffre announced the approaching lib-
eration of the provinces torn from France
in 1870. It was a feeble and ill-conceived
effort to snatch a political advantage out
of a forbidding military situation. German
reinforcements swept up from Colmar and
Neu Breisach, and on the both the French
were back within a few miles of the frontier,
leaving their sympathizers to the vengeance
of their enemies. More legitimate though
not more successful was the French thrust
in Lorraine. It had other motives than the
political: it would, if pushed home, menace
the left of the German armies in Belgium
and disturb their communications; and a
smaller success would avert the danger of
a German advance in Lorraine which would
threaten the right of the French on the Meuse.
Accordingly, Generals Pau and de Castel-
nau, commanding the armies of Alsace and
Lorraine respectively, ordered a general ad-
vance on the 10th. At first it met with suc-
cess: the chief passes of the Vosges from Mt.
Donon on the north to the Belfort gap were
seized; counter-thrusts by the Germans to-
wards Spincourt and Blamont in the plain
of Lorraine were parried; Thann was cap-
tured, Mulhouse was re-occupied, and the
Germans looked like losing Alsace as far
north as Colmar. German Lorraine seemed
equally insecure, for on the 18th Castel-
nau’s troops were in Saarburg cutting the
rail and roads between Strassburg and Metz.
The Germans, however, were not unprepared:
their Fifth Army, under the Crown Prince
Rupprecht of Bavaria, came down from Metz
and fell upon the exposed French left, which
was routed with great losses in guns and
prisoners on the 21st. Not only did the in-
vasion collapse, but the Bavarians pushed
across the French frontier nearly as far as
Toul and occupied Lun´ville, compelling also
a French retreat from the passes of the Vos-
ges. General Pau had soon to follow suit
and retire again from Mulhouse and all but
the south-west corner of Alsace.
    The operations in Alsace and Lorraine
had dismally failed to discount the advance
of the Germans through Belgium or even to
impede the march of their centre through
Luxemburg and the Ardennes. At the end
of three weeks France was still in the throes
of mobilization: the original scheme of de-
fence along the Franco-German frontier had
been upset by the German attack through
Belgium; and second thoughts had fared
little better at Namur. The shortest line
of defence after the Germans had broken
through at Li`ge was one running from Antwerp
to Namur, and the shortest line is imper-
ative for the weaker combatant. But the
Germans were well across it when they en-
tered Brussels, and with the fall of Namur
the hinge upon which depended the defence
of the northern frontier of France was bro-
ken. It was to an almost forlorn hope that
the British Army was committed when it
took its place on the left of the French north-
ern armies at Mons to encounter for the
first time since Waterloo the shock of a first-
rate European force. But for its valour and
the distraction caused by the Russian inva-
sion of East Prussia, Paris and possibly the
French armies might not have been saved.
     It was a meagre force for so great a re-
sponsibility, but far from the ”contemptible
little army” it was falsely believed to have
been called by the Kaiser. The men were
all volunteers who had enlisted for seven
years’ service with the colours as against
the three years’ service of the Germans and
the French; and on an average they had seen
far more actual fighting than the Germans,
who contemptuously dismissed this experi-
ence as colonial warfare. If in the science
of tactics and strategy the British was infe-
rior to the German Army, its marksmanship
and individual steadiness were unequalled;
and under anything like equal conditions
British troops proved themselves the bet-
ter men. But the conditions were never
equal during the first two years of the war
owing to the German superiority in num-
bers and in artillery; and there was a third
cause of inequality due to the different mil-
itary systems of the two countries. Univer-
sal service enabled Germany to select the
ablest men–at least from the middle and
upper classes–to officer and command her
armies. In England before the war only an
infinitesimal fraction of her youthful abil-
ity found its way into the army. Indepen-
dent means and social position rather than
brains were the common qualifications for a
commission; and what there was to be said
for such a system so long as fighting was
mainly a matter of physical courage and
individual leadership lost its validity when
war became a matter of science and me-
chanical ingenuity. The fact that four of
the six British army-commanders (Plumer,
Byng, Rawlinson, Cavan) in the West at the
end of the war were old Etonians, testifies
to more things than their military skill; and
it was a characteristic irony that from first
to last the British armies should have been
commanded by cavalry officers in a war in
which cavalry played hardly any part.
    The commander-in-chief was Sir John
French, who had made his reputation as
a cavalry leader in the Boer War and had
been chief of the imperial staff since 1911.
As inspector-general of the forces from 1907
to 1911 he had a good deal to do with Lord
Haldane’s reorganization of the British Army,
and as chief of the staff he was largely re-
sponsible for the equipment of the Expedi-
tionary Force and the agreement with the
French Government with regard to its di-
mensions and the way in which it should be
used. He was the obvious general to com-
mand it when it came to the test. With sim-
ilar unanimity the popular voice approved
of the appointment of Lord Kitchener as
Secretary of State for War on 5 August.
The Expeditionary Force consisted of three
army corps, each comprising two divisions,
and a cavalry division under Allenby. The
First Army Corps was commanded by Sir
Douglas Haig, the youngest lieutenant-general
in the army, and the second by Sir James
Grierson, its most accomplished student. Un-
happily Grierson died suddenly soon after
the landing, and he was succeeded by Sir
H. Smith-Dorrien, who, like French, had
made his name in South Africa. The Third
Corps, under Sir W. Pulteney, came later
into the field. The embarkation began on 7
August, less than three days after war had
been declared, and the Government showed
a sound confidence in our little-understood
command of the sea when it risked the whole
of our effective fighting force by sending it
across the Channel to assist the French and
thus abandoning the defence of British shores
to the British Navy. By the 16th the trans-
portation had been accomplished without a
hitch or loss of any kind. It was an achieve-
ment which even domestic faction failed to
belittle until time itself had effaced it from
popular recollection.
    From Boulogne and from other ports the
troops were sent up to the wavering line
of battle along the Franco-Belgian frontier.
They came not to win a victory but to save
an army from disaster. The mass of French
reserves were in Lorraine or far away to
the south, and the safety of the French line
on the northern front had depended upon
the assumed impregnability of Namur and
an equally fallacious underestimate of the
number of German troops in Belgium. Three
French armies, the Third, the Fourth, and
the Fifth, were strung along the frontier
from Montm´dy across the Meuse and the
Sambre to a point north-west of Charleroi,
where the British took up their position
stretching through Binche, Mons, and along
the canal from Mons to Cond´. Far away
to the south-west was a French Territorial
corps in front of Arras, and at Maubeuge
behind the British centre was a French cav-
alry corps under General Sordet. The French
staff anticipated a defeat of the German
attack on these lines and then a success-
ful offensive, and military critics in Eng-
land even wrote of the hopeless position of
the Germans under Von Buelow and Von
Kluck thrust far forward into a cul-de-sac
in Belgium with the French on their left at
Charleroi, the British on their right front
at Mons, and the Belgians on their right
rear before Antwerp. The German calcula-
tion was that the Belgians had been effec-
tively masked by a corps detached north-
westwards from Brussels, that the Duke of
W¨rttemberg and Von Hausen had troops
enough to force the Meuse, drive in the French
right, and threaten the centre at Charleroi,
and that Von Buelow could cross the Sam-
bre and Von Kluck encircle the British flank.
The strength which the Germans developed
in Belgium and the extension of their right
wing are said to have been an afterthought
due to the intervention of the British Ex-
peditionary Force; but the original German
plan required some such modification when
the presence of British troops lengthened
the line of French defence.
    The first two army corps, under Haig
to the right and Smith-Dorrien to the left,
were in position on Saturday the 22nd hard
at work throwing up entrenchments and clear-
ing the ground of obstacles to their fire.
That day was more eventful for the French,
and it is not quite clear why they were not
assisted by a British offensive on their left.
On the right, the Third and Fourth French
armies under Ruffey and Langle de Cary
had advanced from the Meuse to attack the
Germans across the Semois. They were severely
checked and withdrew behind the Meuse,
while an unsuspected army of Saxons un-
der Von Hausen attacked the right flank
of the Fifth French army under Lanrezac
which lay along the Sambre with its right
flank resting on the Meuse. The fall of Na-
mur in the angle of the two rivers made
Von Hausen’s task comparatively easy, and
the Fifth army, which was also attacked by
Von Buelow in front, fell back in some con-
fusion. A breach was thus made in the
French line, and Von Hausen turned left
to roll up the Fourth and Third armies of
Langle de Cary and Ruffey; they, too, in
their turn retreated in some haste, and the
Germans were free to concentrate on the
British. They had cleared their left and
centre of danger, and Von Kluck was able
on the 23rd not only to face our troops
with superior forces in front, but to out-
flank them towards the west and bring Von
Buelow down upon them from Charleroi on
the east. He had at least four army corps
with which to crush the British two, and
our 75,000 men were spread out on a line
of twenty-five miles thinner far than the
French line just broken at Charleroi. Fi-
nally, owing to defective staff-work and the
confusion of the French retreat, they were
left in utter ignorance of what had hap-
pened, and faced the German attack as if
they were part of one unbroken front in-
stead of being a fragment round which the
tide of battle surged, and under the impres-
sion conveyed to them on their arrival at the
scene of action that their opponents num-
bered little more than one or at most two
army corps.
    Fighting began at 12.40 p.m. on Sun-
day the 23rd with a bombardment from be-
tween five and six hundred German guns
along the whole twenty-five miles of front.
It did surprisingly little damage in spite of
the spotting by German aeroplanes; and
when the German infantry came forward
in massed formation, they discovered that
their shelling had had no effect upon the
moral of our troops or the accuracy of their
rifle-fire. The Germans fought, of course,
with obstinate courage and advanced again
and again into the murderous fire of our
rifles and machine guns and against occa-
sional bayonet charges. But their own shoot-
ing went to pieces under the stress, and the
frontal attack was a failure. Success there
could not, however, ward off Von Buelow’s
threat to our right flank, and under the con-
verging pressure Binche and then Mons it-
self had to be evacuated. But it was the
long-delayed news of the French defeat and
withdrawal on the whole of the rest of the
line, coupled with more accurate informa-
tion about the size of the German force,
that determined the abandonment of the
British position. Sir John French had to
hold on till nightfall, but orders were given
to prepare the way for retreat. The weary
troops were to have a few hours’ rest and
start at daybreak. Their retreat was cov-
ered by a counter-attack soon after dawn by
the First Division on the right which sug-
gested to the Germans that we had been
strongly reinforced and intended an offen-
sive. Meanwhile Smith-Dorrien moved back
five miles from the Canal, and then stood to
protect the withdrawal of the First Division
after its feint attack. It was a heavy task,
and the 9th Lancers suffered severely in an
attempt to hold up the Germans at Audreg-
nies. But by Monday afternoon Haig’s First
Army Corps was back on the line between
Maubeuge and Bavai, and Smith-Dorrien
fell into line from Bavai westwards to Bry.
     The design was to offer a second bat-
tle in this position, and entrenchments were
begun. The fortress of Maubeuge and the
Sambre gave some protection to the British
right, but the Sambre was only of use in
front if the Meuse was held by the French
on the right and Von Kluck could not out-
flank on the left. Neither of these conditions
was fulfilled: Von Kluck had seized Tour-
nai and captured the whole of the French
Territorial brigade which attempted to de-
fend it, while the Meuse had been forced
and the three French armies were in full re-
treat. A battle on the Maubeuge-Bry line
would invite an encirclement from which
the British had barely escaped at Mons,
and the retreat was reluctantly continued
to Le Cateau. Marching, the First Army
Corps along the east of the Forest of Mor-
mal and the Second along the west, our
troops reached at nightfall on the 25th a
line running from Maroilles through Lan-
drecies and Le Cateau to Serainvilliers near
Cambrai; but they had little rest. About 10
p.m., amid rain and darkness, the Germans
got into Landrecies. In the fierce hand-to-
hand struggle which ensued, the individual
resourcefulness of our men gave them the
advantage, and the Germans were driven
out by detachments of the Grenadier, Cold-
stream, and 1st Irish Guards. They were
simultaneously repulsed at Maroilles with
some French assistance; but daybreak saw
a third and more powerful attack delivered
on Le Cateau. Sir John French had told
Smith-Dorrien the night before that he was
risking a second Sedan by a stand. But
Smith-Dorrien thought he had no option.
For eight hours on the 26th his men, re-
inforced by Snow’s Division, but outnum-
bered in guns by nearly four to one, held
their own, until another envelopment was
threatened by Von Kluck. Fortunately the
struggle had apparently exhausted the Ger-
mans; Sordet’s cavalry had ridden across
Smith-Dorrien’s front and protected his left
from envelopment; and the remnants of the
three divisions were able to withdraw. The
retreat was harrowing enough, and the 1st
Gordons, missing their way in the dark, fell
into the hands of the Germans and were all
killed, wounded, or taken prisoners. But
Le Cateau had taken the sting out of the
German pursuit, and touch was at last re-
gained with French forces to the east, with a
newly-formed corps under D’Amade to the
west, and with a Sixth French army which
Maunoury was collecting on the Somme.
On the evening of Friday the 28th Smith-
Dorrien reached the Oise between Chauny
and Noyon and Haig at La F`re. The First
Army Corps had marched by Guise; the
loss of a detachment of Munsters by mis-
adventure early on the 27th was redeemed
by the defeat on the 28th of two German
columns by two brigades of Allenby’s cav-
alry led by Gough and Chetwode. That
night the Expeditionary Force had its first
real sleep since Sunday, and next day there
were no marching orders.
    The British Army had saved itself and
a good deal else by its courage, skill, and,
above all, its endurance. But there was
much that was lost in men, material, and
ground. The fortification of the French fron-
tier south and west of Mons was obsolete,
and the country had been denuded of troops
save a few Territorials in the process of mo-
bilization. Maubeuge was the only fortress
that made a stand, and Uhlans swept across
Belgium as far as the Lys and down upon
Lille and Arras with the object of cutting
communications between the British Army
and its bases at Boulogne and Dieppe. Some
resistance was offered at Bapaume, where
the arrival of a British detachment delayed
the German advance until Amiens had been
evacuated and the rolling stock removed.
But the threat was sufficiently serious to
induce Sir John French to move his base
as far south as St. Nazaire at the mouth of
the Loire, and the Germans could, had they
been so minded, have occupied the Channel
ports as far as the Seine. But they were not
calculating on a long war or a serious con-
test with British forces for the control of
Flanders, and their object was to destroy
the French armies and dictate a peace at
Paris before the autumn leaves began to
    They seemed to be making excellent progress
towards that end. Sir J. French, indeed,
took a sombre view of our losses at Le Cateau,
and apparently it needed a visitation from
Lord Kitchener on 1st September to retain
the British Army in co-operation with the
French. The fall of Namur, the battles of
Charleroi and Mons, and the defeat of the
French on the Semois were followed by the
rout of Ruffey’s and Langle’s armies on the
Meuse. They stretched north- westwards
            e                            e
from Montm´dy by way of Sedan and Mezi`res
down the Meuse towards Dinant and Na-
mur. But their left flank had been turned
by Von Hausen’s victory and the fall of Na-
mur; and on the 27th Von Hausen, wheel-
ing to his left, rolled up the French left
wing while the Duke of W¨rttemberg and
the Crown Prince attacked all along the
front. Ruffey had to seek safety in the Ar-
gonne, while Langle’s army made for Rethel
on the Aisne. On the 28th Longwy, the
last French fortress north of Verdun, capit-
ulated after a stout resistance. The defence
of the frontier had collapsed, and the hopes
that were entertained of resistance along
the upper Aisne and thence by Laon and La
F`re towards St. Quentin, proved delusive.
Lanrezac’s Fifth army turned on the 29th
between Vervins and Ribemont, and near
Guise inflicted on the Germans the most
serious check to their advance. This reac-
tion was not helped by the British retreat
on Lanrezac’s left, and its principal value
was to protect that withdrawal. Nor was it
better supported on the right. The Third
and Fourth French armies were too severely
hustled in their retreat to make a stand, and
the reserves were still far away to the south.
On the 28th-29th the Aisne was forced at
Rethel, and Reims and Chalons were aban-
doned to the enemy; and La F`re and Laon
followed on the 30th.
    The British fell back from the Aisne and
the Oise through the forests of Villers-Cotterets
and Compi`gne towards the Marne. At N´ry   e
on 1 September a battery of Royal Horse
Artillery was almost wiped out, and the
guns were only saved by a gallant cavalry
charge of the 1st Brigade; and on the same
day a hard rearguard defence had to be
fought by the 4th Guards Brigade. On the
3rd they reached the Marne, but it too was
abandoned farther east without resistance,
and on the 5th the Expeditionary Force was
concentrated behind the Grand Morin. A
retreat, upon the successful conduct of which
depended the existence of the Force, the se-
curity of France, and the cause of the En-
tente, had been successfully accomplished
by the skill of its commanders and still more
by the fortitude and unquenchable spirit
of the men. The French, too, showed a
steadiness in misfortune for which their en-
emies had not looked; their reverses had
been more severe, and their preparation less
complete than our own, and a high morale
was required for armies to react against such
a run of ill-success with the effectiveness
that was presently displayed upon the Marne.
    A public on both sides of the Channel
which was unfamiliar with the elements of
military science and history, looked, as soon
as it was allowed to learn the facts about
the German advance, for the investment of
Paris and regarded the French capital as
the objective of the German invasion. But
Napoleon’s maxim that fortresses are cap-
tured on the field of battle was even truer in
1914 than it was a century earlier; for only
the dispersal of the enemy enables an army
to bring up the heavy artillery needed to
batter down modern fortifications, and the
great war saw no sieges worth the name be-
cause, the armies being once driven off, no
forts could stand prolonged bombardment
by the artillery which followed in the vic-
tor’s train. The cities that suffered were
not isolated units, they were merely knotty
points in the lines of battle, and there could
be no siege of Paris so long as Joffre’s armies
kept in line along the Marne or anywhere in
contact with the capital. There was there-
fore no change of plan and no mystery when
Von Kluck’s right veered in the direction of
its advance from south-west to south and
then south-east. It was both avoiding an
obstacle and pursuing its original design of
outflanking the Entente’s left. Not that
Paris was without its strategic value. It
and the line of the Seine impeded the en-
circlement, offered a nucleus of resistance,
and provided a screen behind which could
be organized a blow against the right flank
of the deflected German march. Still, there
was no certainty that Joffre could hold the
Marne, and the French Government took
the somewhat alarming precaution of re-
moving to Bordeaux.
    The presence of the British on the French
left, the spectacular threat to Paris, and the
comparative proximity of these operations
to our own shores have possibly led to too
great an emphasis being placed upon Von
Kluck’s attempt to outflank the left, or at
least to too little weight being attached to
the German effort to turn the right in Lor-
raine. The Crown Prince was in front of
Verdun and the Kaiser himself went to stim-
ulate the Bavarians at Lun´ville and Nancy,
and it was not the imperial habit to bestow
the light of the imperial countenance upon
scenes of secondary importance. Lun´ville
had been occupied on the 22nd after the
French failure on the Saar, and on the 23rd
fighting began for the Grand Couronn´ dee
Nancy defended by Castelnau. The line of
battle stretched from St. Di´ to Pont-´-  a
Mousson; but although the fiercest attack
was still to come, the German thrust had
been decisively checked at Mirecourt before
Joffre determined to stand on the Marne.
At last the French seemed to have a secu-
rity on their right flank, the lack of which
had proved fatal at Charleroi and on the
Meuse. Paris on the one wing and Nancy on
the other forbade the threat of encirclement
which had hitherto compelled retreat; and
the French armies were also at last in touch
with their reserves.
    There were other elements in the situ-
ation to encourage resistance The momen-
tum of the German rush was somewhat spent
in its rapidity, and the Germans were to il-
lustrate the defect in their own maxim that
the essence of war is violence; for violence
is not the same as force and often wastes
it. Moreover, the Russian invasion of East
Prussia, if it did not actually compel the
transference of divisions from France to the
Eastern front, diverted thither reserves which
might otherwise have appeared on the Marne
or released the troops detained until 7 Septem-
ber by the siege of Maubeuge. Assuredly
Joffre seized the right moment when on the
4th he decided to strike his blow. Two
new armies of reserves had come into line,
Foch’s Ninth and Maunoury’s Sixth; and
two old armies had new commanders, the
Third with Sarrail instead of Ruffey and
the Fifth with Franchet d’Esperey instead
of Lanrezac. In the east Castelnau and Sar-
rail stood almost back to back along the
eastern and western heights of the Meuse
above Verdun. On Sarrail’s left was Lan-
gle’s Fourth army behind Vitry, and the
line was continued westwards by Foch be-
hind Sezanne and the marshes of St. Gond.
Next came D’Esperey’s Fifth at La Fert´-e
Gaucher, and cavalry linked his left with
the British guarded by the Crecy forest.
Thence north-westward stretched across the
Paris front the new Sixth army of Mau-
    As early as 31 August Von Kluck had
turned south-east at a right angle to his
south-western march from Brussels to Amiens;
but he had not thereby replaced his en-
veloping design by a stroke at Joffre’s cen-
tre. For he thought he had disposed of
the British at Le Cateau and of Maunoury
on the Somme, and that D’Esperey’s Fifth
had thus become the flank of Joffre’s forces.
He was merely curving his claws to grip,
and by the night of the 5th he had crossed
the Marne, the Petit Morin, and the Grand
Morin, and his patrols had reached the Seine.
It was a brief and solitary glimpse of the
river on which stood the capital of France.
The battle began, like that of Mons, on a
Sunday, the 6th of September reached its
climax on the 9th, and was over by the
12th, The fighting extended in a curved line
from Meaux, which is almost a suburb of
Paris, to Lun´ville, which is almost on the
German frontier; and Joffre hoped that this
line was too strong to be broken, and could
be gradually drawn tighter until the head
of the German invasion was squeezed out
of the cul-de-sac into which, in the Ger-
man anxiety for a prompt decision, it had
been thrust. The German object, of course,
was, as soon as Von Kluck discovered that
Maunoury’s new and the British returning
armies forbade the enveloping plan, to break
the line where it bent the most, that is, to-
wards the south-east, and the weight of at-
tack was thrown against Foch and Langle in
Champagne. The business of those two gen-
erals was to stand fast while the right flank
of the Germans was exposed to the counter-
offensive of Maunoury and the British.
    Von Kluck had committed the error of
underrating his foes, and assuming that they
had been broken beyond the chance of re-
action; for to march across the front of an
army that is still able to strike is inviting
disaster, and Joffre had at last been able to
shift his weight from east to west to cope
with Von Kluck’s unexpected attack through
Belgium. Maunoury’s army debouched from
Meaux and began fighting its way to the
Ourcq, a little river which runs southwards
into the Marne at Lizy, while the British
emerged from the Crecy forest and drove
the Germans back to the Grand Morin. D’Esperey
made headway against the bulk of Von Kluck’s
army between La Fert´-Gaucher and Ester-
nay, while Foch held his own against Von
Buelow and Von Hausen’s right, and Langle
against the Duke of W¨rttemberg. Sarrail’s
Third army had, however, to give a little
ground along the Meuse. The morrow’s tale
was similar: most progress was made by the
British, who drove the Germans across the
Grand Morin at Coulommiers, and thus en-
abled D’Esperey to do the like with Von
Kluck’s centre. On the 8th, however, Mau-
noury was hard pressed by Von Kluck’s des-
perate efforts to deal with this sudden dan-
ger; but reinforcements poured out from
Paris, the British gained the Petit Morin
from Trilport to La Tr´toire, while D’Esperey
carried victory farther east and captured
Montmirail. By 11 a.m. on the 9th Von
Kluck’s army was ordered to retreat, thus
exposing Von Buelow’s right, and giving Foch
his opportunity for the decisive stroke of the
    It consisted of two blows, right and left,
and both came off late on the 9th. Mau-
noury’s counter-attack on the left had com-
pelled the Germans to weaken their centre.
Not only was Von Buelow’s right exposed,
but a gap had been left between his left
and Von Hausen’s right, possibly for troops
which were detained at Maubeuge or had
been diverted to East Prussia. Nor was this
all, for his centre was bogged in the famous
marshes of St. Gond. Foch struck hard at
Von Buelow’s centre, right, and left, and
by the morning of the 10th he had smashed
the keystone of the German arch. Mean-
while, on the 9th Maunoury had cleared the
Germans from the Ourcq, the British had
crossed the Marne at Chˆngis, and reached
it at Chˆteau-Thierry, and D’Esperey far-
ther east. Von Kluck now received con-
siderable reinforcements which Von Buelow
needed more, and the latter’s rapid retreat
made even reinforcements useless for hold-
ing the Ourcq. It was equally fatal to suc-
cess against Langle and Sarrail, and on the
10th the German retreat became general.
By the end of the week the Germans were
back on a line running nearly due east from
a point on the Oise behind Compi`gne to
the Aisne, along it to Berry-au-Bac, and
thence across Champagne and the Argonne
to Verdun. They had failed in Lorraine as
well, where the climax of their attack was
from the 6th to the 9th. Castelnau then
took the offensive, and by the 12th had
driven the Bavarians from before Nancy be-
yond the Meurthe, and out of Lun´ville and
St. Di´.
    The German right had fallen back thirty-
five miles and the centre nearly fifty; but
the retreat was not a rout, and the losses in
guns and prisoners were meagre. The first
battle of the Marne was important by rea-
son of what it prevented the Germans from
doing, rather than by reason of what the Al-
lies achieved, and they had to wait nearly
four years for that precipitate evacuation
of France which it was hoped would follow
upon the German repulse from the Marne
in September 1914. Nevertheless it was one
of the decisive battles and turning-points of
the war. The German surprise, so long and
so carefully prepared, had failed, and the
knockout blow had been parried. The Al-
lied victory had not decided how the war
would end, but it had decided that the war
would be long–a test of endurance rather
than of generalship, a struggle of peoples
and a conflict of principles rather than duel
between professional armies. There would
be time for peaceful and even unarmed na-
tions to gird themselves in defence; and the
cause of democracy would not go down be-
cause military autocrats had thought to dis-
pose of France before her allies could effec-
tively intervene.
    The first month of the war in the West
had coincided more nearly with German plans
than with Entente hopes, but both Ger-
many and the Western Allies agreed in mis-
calculating Russia. The great Moltke had
remarked early in his career that Russia had
a habit of appearing too late on the field
and then coming too strong. The war was
to prove that to be a fault of democracy
rather than of autocrats, and Russia in-
tervened with an unexpected promptitude
which was to be followed in time by an
equally unexpected collapse. The forecast-
ing of the course of wars is commonly left to
military experts, and military experts com-
monly err through ignoring the moral and
political factors which determine the weight
and distribution of military forces. The sol-
dier, so far as he looks behind armies at all,
only looks to the numbers from which those
armies may be recruited, and pays scant re-
gard to the political, moral, social, and eco-
nomic conditions which may make havoc of
armies, evoke them where they do not ex-
ist, or transfer them to unforeseen scales in
the military balance. Russia appeared to
the strategist as a vast reservoir of food for
powder which would take time to mobilize,
but prove almost irresistible if it were given
time. Both these calculations proved fal-
lacious, and still less was it foreseen that
the reservoir would revolt. The first mis-
judgment deranged the German plans, the
second those of the Allies, while the third
upset the minds of the world.
    The outbreak of war found Russia with
a peace-strength of over a million men, a
war-strength of four millions, and reserves
which were limited not by her population
but by her capacity for transport, organi-
zation, and production of munitions. Her
Prussian frontiers were guarded by no nat-
ural defences, but neither were Prussia’s.
Nature, it has been said, did not foresee
Prussia; Prussia is the work of men’s hands.
Nor had Nature foreseen Russia, and men’s
hands had not made up the deficiency. Me-
chanical means had remedied the natural
defects of Prussia’s frontier, but not those
of the Russian; and Russia’s defence con-
sisted mainly in distance, mud, and lack of
communications. The value of these varied,
of course, with the seasons, and the motor-
transport, which atoned to some extent for
the lack of railways, told in favour of Ger-
man science and industry, and against the
backward Russians. Apart from the ab-
sence of natural defences, the Russian fron-
tier had been artificially drawn so as to make
her Polish province an indefensible salient,
though properly organized it would have
been an almost intolerable threat alike to
East Prussia and to Austrian Galicia. But
for her preoccupation in the West, Germany
could have conquered Poland in a fortnight,
and Russian plans, indeed, contemplated
a withdrawal as far as the line of Brest-
Litovsk. As it was, the German offensive
in Belgium and France left the defence of
Prussia to the chances of an Austrian of-
fensive against Lublin, a containing army of
some 200,000 first-line and 300,000 second-
line troops, and the delays in Russian mo-
    Two of these proved to be broken reeds.
Russian troops were almost as prompt in
invading East Prussia as German troops in
crossing the frontiers of France and Bel-
gium, and by the end of the first week in
August a flight to Berlin had begun. The
shortest way from the Russian frontier to
Berlin was by Posen, and it lay through a
country peopled with Poles who were bit-
terly hostile to their German masters. But
it was impossible to exploit these advan-
tages at the expense of deepening the Pol-
ish salient with its already too narrow base,
and the flanks in East Prussia and Galicia
had first to be cleared. Under the supreme
command of the Grand Duke Nicholas, who
in spite of his rank was a competent pro-
fessional soldier, and the more immediate
direction of Rennenkampf, one of the few
Russian officers to emerge with enchanced
reputation from the Japanese War, the Rus-
sians proceed to concentrate on East Prus-
sia (see Map). On the east Gumbinnen was
captured after a battle on the 20th, and the
important junction of Insterburg occupied
by Rennenkampf, while on the south Sam-
sonov on the 21st turned the German right,
threatened Allenstein and drove the fugi-
tives, as Rennenkampf had done, into the
lines of K¨nigsberg. East Prussia lay at
Russia’s feet, and something like a panic
alarmed Berlin. The Teutonic cause was
faring even worse in Galicia and Poland.
Austria had a million troops in Galicia, but
her offensive under Dankl towards Lublin
only produced a strategic Russia retirement,
while Ruszky and Brussilov overran the east-
ern borders and menaced Lemberg.
    Fortunately for the Germans their own
right hand proved a stronger defence. The
incompetent General von Fran¸ois, who had
been driven into K¨nigsberg, was superseded
by Hindenburg, a retired veteran of nearly
seventy, whose military career had made so
slight an impression on the German mind
that his name was not even included in the
German ”Who’s Who.” Nevertheless he had
commanded corps on the Prussian frontier,
and even after his retirement made the study
of its defence his hobby. He knew every
yard of the intricate mixture of land and
water which made up the district of the
Masurian Lakes, and had, unfortunately for
Russia, defeated a German financial scheme
for draining the country and turning it into
land over which an invader could safely march.
Within five days of Samsonov’s victory, Hin-
denburg, taking advantage of the magnifi-
cent system of German strategic railways,
had collected some 150,000 men from the
fortresses on the Vistula and concentrated
them on a strong position stretching from
near Allenstein south-west towards Soldau,
his left resting on the railway from Eylau to
Insterburg and his right on that from Eylau
to Warsaw. In front of him were marshes
with the ways through which he was, but
Samsonov was not, familiar; and the rail-
ways enabled him to threaten either of the
enemy’s flanks.
    Samsonov was practically isolated. Rightly
ignoring the strong defences of K¨nigsberg
but wrongly getting out of touch with Ren-
nenkampf, he had pushed on, thinking there
could be no serious resistance east of the
Vistula and hoping to seize the bridge at
Graudenz. Hindenburg made a feint on his
right, but pushed his real outflanking move-
ment along the railway on his left. But the
feint was enough to outflank Samsonov’s
left and close the retreat towards Warsaw.
It also diverted his reserves from his centre
and from his right, which on the 27th was
cut off from a possible junction with Ren-
nenkampf. A gallant attempt by Gourko
to relieve him on the 30th came too late.
The only exit was along a narrow strip of
land between the marshes leading to Or-
telsburg, and here between the 28th and
the 31st the Russian forces were almost an-
nihilated. Less than a third escaped, and
the loss of guns was even greater. Over
eighty thousand prisoners were taken, and
the Germans who had missed their Sedan
in the West secured a passable imitation
in the East. Samsonov perished in the re-
treat. The Russian censorship suppressed
the news, and what was allowed to come
through from Germany was treated in En-
tente countries as a German lie. For more
than a fortnight little was known of a vic-
tory which, save for Allenby’s four years
later, was the completest in the war. The
relief in Berlin was immense; Hindenburg
became the popular idol, Field-Marshal, and
Generalissimo of the Teutonic armies in the
East; and a little village, which lay behind
Hindenburg’s centre, was selected to give its
name to the battle and to commemorate a
national revenge for that defeat at Tannen-
berg five centuries before when the Slavonic
kingdom of Poland had broken the power of
the Teutonic Order in Prussia.
    Russia, however, was a different power
from the Teutonic Order, and Austrian gen-
erals were not Hindenburgs; Ruszky and
Brussilov, too, were better leaders than Sam-
sonov, and though Rennenkampf had to evac-
uate East Prussia before Hindenburg’s ad-
vance, the Austrians were driven like chaff
before their enemies in Galicia. The object
of Russian strategy was to straighten the
serpentine line of the frontier for military
purposes. Hence, while pushing forward
her wings in East Prussia and Galicia, she
would merely stand on guard or withdraw
in the Polish centre, and the Germans en-
countered little opposition when they seized
Czenstochowa and Kalisch and pushed to-
wards the Warta, or the Austrians when
they advanced by Zamosc towards the Bug.
The advance in East Prussia was also rep-
resented as a chivalrous attempt to reduce
the pressure in France by a threat to Berlin,
and the real Russian effort was the sweep
westwards from the eastern Galician fron-
tier, where the Second Russian army under
Ruszky and the Third farther south under
Brussilov were already threatening the en-
velopment of Lemberg (or Lwow [Footnote:
Pronounced and sometimes spelt Lvoff.]) and
the Austrians under Von Auffenberg. Ruszky,
formerly like Foch a professor in a military
academy, was perhaps the most scientific
of Russian generals; Brussilov showed his
strategy two years later at Luck; [Footnote:
Pronounced Lutsk: the Slavonic ”c” = ”ts”
”cz” = ”ch” and ”sz” = ”sh.”] and Radko
Dmitrieff was a Bulgarian general, now in
Russian service, who in the Balkan wars
had won the battle of Kirk Kilisse and helped
to win that of Lule-Burgas. There was not
an abler trio in any field of the war.
    By the end of August Brussilov had cap-
tured Tarnopol and Halicz and forced the
successive rivers which guarded the right
flank of Lemberg and Von Auffenberg’s forces
and protected their communications with
the Carpathian passes; and on 1 September
the battle for the capital of eastern Gali-
cia began. It lasted for nearly three days,
and was almost as decisive as that of Tan-
nenberg. Brussilov’s outflanking movement
was continued with success, but the coup
de grˆce was given here, as at Charleroi and
the Marne, by isolating a central group and
thus breaking the line. Thrusting forward
his right, Ruszky outflanked Lemberg and
interposed between Von Auffenberg and the
Austrian army in Poland. On the 3rd Lem-
berg was evacuated, and the retreat, which
was for a time protected by the entrenched
camp at Grodek, gradually became more
disorderly. Over 70,000 prisoners were taken,
mostly, no doubt, Czecho-Slovaks and Jugo-
Slavs who had more sympathy with the Rus-
sians than with their Teutonic masters, and
masses of machine guns and artillery. The
victory was brilliantly and promptly followed
up. While Brussilov pressed on to Stryj
and the Carpathians, Ruszky and Dmitrieff
beat Von Auffenberg again at Rawa Ruska
near the frontier on the 10th, and Ivanoff,
who had taken command in Poland, drove
Dankl and the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand
from the line they held between Lublin and
the borders. The whole of the Austrian
forces fell back behind the Vistula and the
San, Von Auffenberg finding safety in Prze-
mysl, and others a more temporary refuge
at Jaroslav, while the van of the retreating
army did not stop short of Cracow. The
German detachments in Poland had to con-
form, and by the middle of September Poland
had been cleared as far as the Warta, and
Galicia was defenceless, save for invested
Przemysl, as far south as the Carpathians
and as far west as the Dunajec. The days
of the Marne were even more sombre for
the Central Empires on the Vistula and the
    Their gloom was relieved by the halo
which shone round Hindenburg’s head. Ren-
nenkampf was gone and all the faculties of
the University of K¨nigsberg conferred de-
grees on the victor to celebrate its escape.
Reinforcements were sent to the frontier,
and on 7 September Russia was invaded.
The object of the offensive is not clear ex-
cept on the assumption that Hindenburg’s
strategic acumen was defective, and that he
thought he could turn the Russian right by
an advance across the Niemen. But the dif-
ficulties were insuperable and the distances
were vast. Even if he got to Kovno it would
need far greater forces than he possessed to
cover and control the illimitable land be-
yond; and between him and success lay swamps
more extensive then the Masurian Lakes and
the heavily fortified line of the Narew. He
was, indeed, in his turn falling into Sam-
sonov’s error, and seems to have been saved
from his fate mainly by the prematurely
successful Russian defence. He was allowed
to reach the Niemen at various points be-
tween Kovno and Grodno, but was unhap-
pily prevented from committing his fortunes
to the eastern bank by the Russian artillery,
which repeatedly destroyed his pontoons as
soon as they were constructed. Lower down
on his right an attempt on the fortress of
Ossowiec proved equally futile, because the
Germans could find no ground within range
solid enough to bear the weight of their
artillery. The inevitable retreat began on
the 27th, and it was sadly harassed by the
pursuing Russians, especially in the forest
of Augustowo, where Rennenkampf claimed
to have inflicted losses amounting to 60,000
men in killed, prisoners, and wounded. By
1 October the Russian cavalry was again
across the German frontier, and Hinden-
burg was called south to attempt in Poland
to frustrate the Russian advance on Cracow
which his turning movement in the north
had failed to check.
    The call was urgent, for the conquest of
Galicia portended disaster to the Central
Empires. Cracow was a key both to Berlin
and Vienna; its possession would turn the
Oder and open the door to Silesia, which
was hardly less vital to Germany than West-
phalia as a mining and manufacturing dis-
trict. It would also give access to Vienna
and facilitate the separation of Hungary,
and all that that meant in the Balkans, from
the Teutonic alliance. Even without the
loss of Cracow, that of the rest of Gali-
cia was serious enough; her oil-wells were
the main sources of the German supply of
petroleum, and her Slav population, once
assured of the solidity of Russian success,
would throw off its allegiance to the Haps-
burgs and entice the Czecho-Slovaks on its
borders to do the same. These prospects
were not visionary in September 1914. Jaroslav
fell on the 23rd and Przemysl was invested.
Russian cavalry rode through the Carpathian
passes into the Hungarian plain, and west
of the San patrols penetrated within a hun-
dred miles of Cracow. In her own inter-
ests as well as in those of her ally, Germany
was compelled to throw more of her weight
against the Russian front. The German
and Austrian commands were unified under
Hindenburg, and having failed on the north
he now tried to stop the Russians by a blow
at their centre in Poland. Here Ruszky was
now in command, while Ivanoff with Brus-
silov and Dmitrieff as his two lieutenants
controlled the armies in Galicia.
    Like every German general Hindenburg
believed in the offensive being the best form
of defence, and like all Germans in the ad-
vantage of waging war in the enemy’s coun-
try. His plan of attack was a concentric
advance on Warsaw along the three rail-
way lines leading from Thorn, Kalisch, and
Czenstochowa, combined with an effort to
cross the Vistula at Josefow while the Aus-
trians kept step in Galicia, relieved Prze-
mysl, and recovered Lemberg. There was
even a movement southwards from East Prus-
sia which captured Mlawa, but it was only
a raid which did not hamper the Grand
Duke’s contemplated counter-offensive. War-
saw had obvious attractions; Josefow was
selected because it was far from Russia’s
railway lines but near to Ostrowiec, the ter-
minus of a line which led from the Ger-
man frontier; and the object of crossing the
Vistula was to take in the rear the great
fortress of Ivangorod lower down, and then
to get behind Warsaw. The Grand Duke
had divined these intentions, while he con-
cealed his own by misleading the Germans
into a belief that he proposed abandoning
the Polish salient and retiring on Brest. His
real plan was to stand on the east bank of
the Vistula save for the defence of Warsaw
which lies upon the west, and to counter-
attack round the north of the German left
wing under the guns of the great fortress of
Novo Georgievsk. Rennenkampf was brought
down to command this movement, while
Ruszky took charge of the defence at Jose-
    On 10 October Hindenburg’s centre moved
out from Lodz and on the 15th the bat-
tle was joined all along the Vistula. War-
saw was vigorously defended by Siberian
and Caucasian troops, aided by Japanese
guns. The battle raged from the 16th to
the 19th, when the planned surprise from
Novo Georgievsk forced back the German
left and threatened the centre before War-
saw. Ruszky was still more successful with
his stratagem at Josefow. The Germans
were suffered to construct their pontoons,
cross the river, and make for the railway
between Warsaw and Lublin. Then on the
21st the Russians came down upon them
with a bayonet charge, and not a man is
said to have escaped across the river. Next
day the Russians also crossed at Novo Alexan-
dria lower down, and a general attack drove
the Germans back to Radom on the 25th
and thence from Kielce on 3 November. Threat-
ened by Rennenkampf on the north and Ruszky
on the south, the German centre had to
abandon Skierniew´ Lowicz, and then Lodz,
destroying every vestige of communication
as they withdrew and lavishly sacrificing
men in rearguard actions to protect their
stores and their equipment.
    Ironically enough the chief success of Hin-
denburg’s offensive was achieved by the Aus-
trian subordinates he had come to help. Ivanoff
was a bad substitute for Ruszky, and Dankl
temporarily retrieved the reputation he had
lost the previous month. Jaroslav was re-
covered, Przemysl was relieved and abun-
dantly revictualled for a second and a longer
siege, and an attack on Sambor bade fair to
put the Austrians once more in Lemberg.
But the German defeat in Poland compelled
an Austrian retreat in Galicia. Przemysl
was reinvested and the Russians resumed
their march with quickened pace on Cra-
cow. This time they threatened it first from
the north of the Vistula, and on 9 November
their cavalry, pursuing the Germans, was at
Miechow, only twenty miles from Cracow.
Moving more slowly through Galicia while
Brussilov occupied the Carpathian passes,
Dmitrieff pushed his cavalry into Wielitza
south-east of the city on 6 December, and
on the 8th he fought a successful action in
its outskirts. Farther north the Cossacks
had occupied Nieszawa, a few miles from
Thorn, on 9 November, and on the follow-
ing day a Russian raid across the Silesian
frontier cut the German railway from Posen
to Cracow. It was high time that the Ger-
mans turned the weight of their offensive
from the Flanders front and the Channel
ports to parrying the Russian menace on
their East.
    Austria was in no happier case. Her
invasion of Serbia which had opened the
flood-gates of war had been almost submerged
in the torrent, and the punitive expedition
she had planned had brought punishment
mainly upon herself, and that not merely
at the hands of Serbia’s powerful patron,
but at those of the little people who were
to be chastised. The early fighting was of a
desultory character, and Austria’s two first-
line corps having been withdrawn to meet
the Russians, the Serbs and Montenegrins
made a combined effort on 12 August to
invade Bosnia and capture Serajevo. No
great progress was made, and on the 16th
the Austrians retaliated with the capture of
Shabatz in the north-west corner of Serbia.
But next day the Serbs routed a large Aus-
trian force in the neighbourhood, and the
Crown Prince Alexander followed up this
victory by another on the 18th against the
Austrians on the Jadar, who were seeking,
in co- operation with those at Shabatz, to
cut the Serbs off from their base. The re-
sult was that by the 24th the Austrians were
practically cleared out of the country, and
Vienna announced that the punitive expe-
dition, which had cost 40,000 casualties and
fifty guns, had accomplished its object.
    A second attempt to achieve it was, how-
ever, provoked by the invasion of Bosnia
with which the Serbs had supplemented their
victory, and by their capture of Semlin in
order to stop the Austrian bombardment
of Belgrade. On 8 September the Austri-
ans launched an attack across the Drina
which forms the boundary between Serbia
and Bosnia, and the battle raged till the
17th. Again the Serbs were victorious, though
they made no impression on Serajevo and
the Austrians retained a foothold on the
eastern bank of the Drina; and for six weeks
Serbia was left in comparative peace. But
at the end of October the entrance of Turkey
into the war and the relief afforded to Aus-
tria’s troops farther north by the increasing
activity of Germany in Poland and Galicia
encouraged another effort; and under Gen-
eral Potiorek the Austrians began a more
ambitious campaign. The Serbian frontier
constituted a sharp salient which was in-
defensible against a superior force, and the
Austrians exploited this advantage by ex-
tending their front of attack from Semen-
dria on the Danube right round to Ushitza
beyond the Drina. Their object was to en-
velop the Serbs and seize, firstly, Valievo,
their advanced base, secondly, Kraguievatz
the Serbian arsenal, and, finally, Nish, to
which the Serbian Court and Government
had withdrawn.
    The only chance the Serbs had of success
was to shorten their line by withdrawing
to the semicircular mountain ridge which
lies south and south-east of Valievo, and
even so their prospects were gloomy. Two
wars had already depleted Serbia’s man-
hood and her munitions, and her numbers
were sadly inferior to the Austrians. But in-
dividually her troops were far better fight-
ers than their opponents, and the Crown
Prince, Marshal Putnik, and General M´  ıshitch,
the commander of the 1st Serbian Army,
quite outclassed Potiorek in tactics, strat-
egy, and knowledge of the terrain. By 10
November the Austrians were in Valievo,
and Potiorek was inclined to rest on his
laurels. For a fatal fortnight he did noth-
ing, and even detached three of his corps to
serve in the Carpathians against the Rus-
sians who were there doing Serbia the ser-
vice they had done in East Prussia to the
Allies on the Marne. In that interval Greek
and other munitions were conveyed in spite
of Bulgar and Turkish intervention to the
hard-pressed Serbians; King Peter, old, blind,
and deaf, came from Nish to make a stir-
ring appeal to his troops; and when on 1-
3 December Potiorek once more advanced
to the ridges of Rudnik and Maljen, he en-
countered a re-munitioned army, skilfully
posted in strong positions and pledged to
death or victory. Victory was its guerdon
all along the line; the Austrian left centre
and centre were broken on the 5th; at night
their right was shattered near Ushitza; and
on the morrow the whole army was in re-
treat, which soon became a rout. There
were 80,000 casualties before, on the 15th,
the fugitives were back in their own land
across the Drina, the Danube, and the Save,
leaving Belgrade once more in the hands of
the heroic Serbs.
    Austria had, however, acquired a strange
new friend in the Turk, who had thrice be-
sieged Vienna, and with whom she had waged
an intermittent warfare of the Crescent and
the Cross for some four centuries; and the
blood-stained hand of Turkey was stretched
out to save its ”natural allies” –to quote
Bernhardi–at Buda-Pesth and Potsdam. There
was, indeed, a bond of sympathy, for in
each of the enemy capitals a ruling caste
oppressed one or more subject nationalities.
Prussia stood for the Junker domination of
the German tribes; Austria, for Teutonic
government of Czechs, Slovaks, and Poles;
Hungary, for Magyar dictation to Jugo-Slavs
and Rumanes; and Turkey, for the exploita-
tion or extermination of Armenians, Greeks,
and Arabs. The Young Turk, who had dis-
possessed Abdul Hamid in 1908, only dif-
fered from the Old in being more efficient
and less of a gentleman, and in seeking his
inspiration from Krupp’s guns and Treitschke’s
philosophy instead of from the Koran. He
was a Turk without the Turk’s excuse, and
the adventurer Enver, who inaugurated the
rule of the Committee of Union and Progress
by assassinating his rivals, was willing to
give Germany control of the Berlin-Baghdad
route in return for a free hand with the sub-
ject nationalities of the Ottoman Empire.
Russia was the common obstacle to both
ambitions; but, Russia finally crippled, the
Balkan States would become Turco-Teutonic
provinces, and the Near East a German av-
enue into Asia, while Egypt might be re-
covered for the Sultan and made a base for
German penetration of Africa.
   Millions of German money had already
been invested in this scheme, and the Kaiser’s
versatile piety had assumed a Mohammedan
hue in the East. He had proclaimed him-
self the friend of every Mohammedan under
the sun, and had carefully refrained from
wounding the feelings of the authors of the
Armenian massacres. The defeat of his Turk-
ish friends in the Balkan Wars had been al-
most as great a blow to him as to them, and
he had seen in the subsequent discord of the
victors a chance of crushing them all. Ru-
mania, he thought, was tied to his chariot-
wheels by its Hohenzollern king, and Greece
by its Hohenzollern queen; and Bulgaria could
be won through its hatred of the success-
ful Serbs. Serbia conquered, the corridor
would be complete; but Serbia could not
be permanently crushed while Russia re-
mained intact, and Turkey would be a use-
ful ally in the Russian campaign. There
were millions of Mohammedans under Rus-
sian rule, and a Turkish invasion of the Cau-
casus, even if it did not stimulate insur-
rection in Russia, would keep hundreds of
thousands of Russian troops from East Prus-
sia, Poland, or Galicia.
    Apart from the vulgar bribes which af-
fected the Young Turk politicians there were
other motives to move the populace. A
Jehad against the Christian might stir the
honest fanatic; well-to-do Turks had invested
some of their savings in two Turkish Dread-
noughts under construction in England which
the British Government had commandeered;
and two German warships, the Goeben and
the Breslau, had arrived at the Golden Horn
to impress or to encourage the Ottoman
mind. Such were some of the straws which
finally broke the back of sober resistance to
the warlike gamble of Enver and Talaat; but
the substantial argument was the chance
which was offered for Turkey to get back
some of what her inveterate Russian en-
emy had seized in the course of a century
and her inveterate British friend had pock-
eted as the price of her protection. On
29 October a horde of Bedouins invaded
the Sinai Peninsula while Turkish torpedo
boats raided Odessa, and on 1 November
the British ambassador departed from Con-
stantinople. The two Central Empires had
enlisted their first ally, and the war had
taken another stride towards Armageddon.
   The declaration of war by Great Britain
on 4 August converted the conflict into one
unlike any other that had been waged since
Napoleon was sent to St. Helena in 1815;
and sea-power was once more revealed to a
somewhat purblind world. There had, in-
deed, been wars in which navies had been
engaged, and Japan in 1904 had exhibited
the latest model of a naval battle. But
Japan only commanded the sea in Far East-
ern waters; and the wars in which Great
Britain herself was engaged since 1815 had
displayed her command in limited spheres
and at the expense of enemies who had no
pretensions to be her naval rivals. But in
1914 the second navy in the world seemed
by the conduct of Germany to challenge
the first, and for nearly four and a half
years there were hopes and fears of a ti-
tanic contest for the command of the sea.
But in fact the challenge was not forthcom-
ing, and from first to last the command
remained in our hands through Germany’s
default. There was no Trafalgar because no
one came forth to fight, and in the end the
German Navy surrendered without a strug-
    But while our command of the sea was
not disputed in deed by the Germans, it was
disputed in word by domestic critics and
denied by loquacious generals; and the ex-
ploits of German submarines, airships, and
aeroplanes lent some colour to the denial
and to the assertion that England had ceased
to be an island. Both contentions were the
outcome of inadequate knowledge and worse
confusion of thought. Islands are made by
the sea and not by the air; even if the Ger-
mans had secured command of the air, which
they did not, that command would not have
given them the advantages which accrue from
the command of the sea. It might please
pessimists to believe that England would be
cowed into submission by air-raids, but the
most inveterate scaremongers hesitated to
assert that armies with their indispensable
artillery and equipment could be dropped
on British soil from the skies. Belgium and
France were far more troubled than we by
aircraft; but it was not aircraft that carried
German armies to Brussels and near to the
gates of Paris, and London was saved from
the fate of Louvain by British command of
the sea. Nor was that command abolished
or even threatened by submarines, and the
fear lest it was came of the mentality which
denies the existence of a power on the ground
that it is not perfect. Command of the sea
never has been and never can be absolute.
French privateers had never been more ac-
tive nor British losses at sea more acute
than after Trafalgar, when no French Navy
ventured out of port; and the destruction of
every German Dreadnought would not have
affected by one iota the success of German
    The command of the sea does not mean
immunity from the risks of naval warfare
or from loss by the capture or sinking of
merchant vessels. It does not imply abso-
lute security for British coasts, for British
coasts have been raided in every great war
that Britain has waged. It does not even
involve the defeat or destruction of the en-
emy’s naval forces, or it would be a simple
task for any naval Power to deprive us of the
command of the sea by locking its fleets in
harbour, and on that theory the forts of the
Dardanelles would have enabled Turkey to
deny the command of the sea to the com-
bined fleets of the world. The meaning is fa-
miliar enough to intelligent students of his-
tory. Bacon sketched it three hundred years
ago when he wrote, ”He that commands the
sea is at great liberty and may take as much
and as little of the war as he will ... and
the wealth of both Indies seems in great
part but an accessory to the command of
the seas.” ”Both Indies” have grown to-day
to include the resources of nearly the whole
extra-European world which the command
of the sea placed at the disposal of the En-
tente and denied to the Central Empires;
and the last great war, like those against
Napoleon, Louis XIV, and Philip II, was
decided by the same indispensable factor
in world-power. Others might control for a
time a continent; only those who command
the sea can dispose of the destinies of the
    But while an essential factor in world-
power, the command of the sea is not its
sum; and the war throughout its course il-
lustrated the weakness of attack by sea against
a well-defended coast. No attempt was made
to land an army on German territory, and
complete command of the Ægean did not
avail for the capture of Gallipoli. It could
not turn sea into land nor enable a navy
to do an army’s work, and command of the
sea while a more extensive is a less intensive
kind of power than command of the land.
The nature of the command varies, indeed,
with the solidity of the element in which it
is exercised: land is more solid than water,
and water than air; the command of the
land is therefore more complete than com-
mand of the sea, and command of the sea
than command of the air; and endless con-
fusion arose from the use of the same word
to describe three different degrees of con-
trol. Victory can be achieved on sea, con-
quest only on land; and nothing like victory,
let alone conquest, in war has yet been won
in the air. Conquest, however, while it can-
not be effected, can be prevented on sea, as
it was at Salamis in 1588, at Trafalgar, and
Navarino; for sea-power, while conclusive
for defence, is merely conducive to offence,
and that is why it has ever been a means
of liberty rather than of despotism. Armies
are the weapons of autocracy, navies those
of freedom; for peoples do not live upon wa-
ter, and only armies command their homes.
Command of the sea is a sufficient protec-
tion for an island-empire; to conquer oth-
ers it needs a superior army, and the ab-
sence of such an army proved the defensive
aims of the British Empire before the war.
World domination could only be secured by
the combination of a dominant army with a
dominant navy, and hence the significance
of the German naval programme designed
at least to prevent the counteraction of one
by the other.
    But while a supreme navy suffices to
protect an island empire, it does not suf-
fice to defend continental states; and the
importance of British sea-power was that
it gave us and other oversea peoples the
liberty to take as much or as little part
as we chose in a war to defend states that
were threatened on land. The existence of
that facility did not determine the extent
to which it might be used by ourselves or
by allies. That would depend upon the size
of the armies we raised and the labour we
spent upon their equipment; and we might
have restricted our expeditionary forces to
the numbers we sent under Marlborough
against Louis XIV or under Wellington against
Napoleon. But we could not have sent any
without the command of the sea; and the
essence of that command is that, firstly, it
prevented the enemy from using his armies
to invade our shores, and, secondly, it en-
abled us to send whatever forces we liked to
whatever sphere of operations was not com-
manded by the enemy’s armies. Philip II
had demonstrated once for all the emptiness
of the invasion scare when he sent a superb
military expedition, the Spanish Armada,
across a sea which he did not command;
and the efforts of German submarines failed
to affect the transport of our own and our
Allies’ troops or seriously to impede their
    The command of the sea was, in fact,
abandoned by the Germans when on 26 July
1914 their fleet was recalled from the Nor-
wegian fiords; and the cruisers which the
outbreak of war found beyond reach of Ger-
man territorial waters were in turn and in
time destroyed. One Dreadnought, the Goeben,
and a light cruiser, the Breslau, escaped to
play a chequered part in the war. Caught
by its outbreak in the Mediterranean, they
attempted to make the Straits, were headed
off by the British, and gained Messina on 5
August. Evading the British Fleet under
circumstances which were held to cast no
reflection on the British commander, and
with assistance which it was deemed im-
politic to make public, they pursued their
flight eastward, gallantly assaulted by the
smaller and slower Gloucester off Cape Mat-
apan, until they reached the Dardanelles
and took the Turkish Government under
their charge. Out in the Atlantic the swift
Karlsruhe caused some anxiety till she was
wrecked in the West Indies, and the Geier
was interned at Honolulu by the United States.
A few converted merchantmen also pursued
a brief career as raiders: the Cap Trafalgar
was disposed of in a spirited action by the
converted Cunarder Carmania on 14 Septem-
ber off Brazil; the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
was sunk by the Highflyer off Cape Verde
Islands on 27 August; and the Spreewald
was captured in the North Atlantic by the
Berwick on 12 September. For the rest,
the German mercantile marine was interned
in neutral ports or restricted to Baltic wa-
ters, and apart from Von Spee and the sub-
marines the German flag disappeared from
the seas.
    The Germans had realized from the start
a vital difference between war on sea and
war on land. The land affords some protec-
tion to the weaker combatant especially on
the defensive; the sea gives none. There are
no trenches in the sea, but only graves. It is
merciless to the vanquished, and the casual-
ties in a beaten fleet are total losses; instead
of prisoners, fugitives, and wounded, there
is one vast list of drowned. Ships that are
sunk do not return to the battle- line, and
their loss takes long to repair. Years are
required to build a Dreadnought, and years
to make a seaman. Armies are easier to cre-
ate and more difficult to destroy than fleets,
and the sailor’s fight is ever one to a finish,
with little chance of escape from the dread
alternative. It is a case of all or nothing;
there are no water-tight compartments in
sea- power, no fluctuating spheres of power,
no divided areas in some of which one and in
some the other combatant may be supreme.
Apart from land-locked waters the sea is
one and indivisible, and he who has the
command, commands it everywhere. The
battle at sea is a battle without a morrow
for those who lose; and from the day when
the Germans wisely withdrew into Kiel and
Wilhelmshaven there was little chance that
they would come out to fight to a finish ex-
cept as a counsel of despair or until they
could by mine or submarine or skilful raid
reduce the disparity of force. That was
the purpose of their early naval strategy;
it proved ineffective owing to British skill
and caution, and it became hopeless when
it appeared that we could build ships much
faster than the Germans could sink them
or build ships themselves; and the Germans
then turned from the task of destroying the
British Navy to that of destroying the com-
merce on which we depended for subsis-
tence, from the hope of securing the com-
mand of the sea for themselves to that of
turning it into a ”no man’s land,” a desert
which no allied or neutral ship could cross.
   The mine-sowing began the moment war
was declared, and on 5 August the Koni-
gin Luise was sunk in the nefarious act of
sowing loose mines in the North Sea. Fixed
mines for coast and harbour defence or mine-
fields at sea are legitimate means of war,
provided that warning is given of the dan-
gerous area; loose mines are prohibited by
international law, because they can make
no distinction in their destruction between
neutrals and belligerents, merchantmen and
men-of-war. But the German flag having
practically disappeared from the seas, the
Germans paid little heed to the risks of other
people. On 6 August a light cruiser, the
Amphion, struck one of these mines and
was sunk, and on 3 September a gunboat,
the Speedy, met with a similar fate. A
more serious loss, though only one man was
killed, was that of the super-Dreadnought
Audacious, which struck a mine to the north
of Ireland on 27 October and sank as she
was being towed into harbour; and a mine
caused the loss of the Hampshire, with Lord
Kitchener on board, in June 1916.
    The submarine proved, however, the greater
danger, and there was nothing illegal in the
sinking of men-of-war or transports. On 5
September the Pathfinder, a light cruiser,
was torpedoed and sunk, and on the 13th
the British retaliated by sinking the Ger-
man light cruiser Hela near Heligoland. The
warning, however, had not been taken to
heart, and on 22 September the German
submarine commander, Otto Weddigen, suc-
cessively sank the Aboukir, the Hogue, and
the Cressy, three old but substantial cruis-
ers on patrol duty off the Dutch coast. The
Hogue and the Cressy were lost because
they came up to the rescue and were pro-
tected by no screen of destroyers, and 680
officers and men were drowned. A fourth
cruiser, the Hawke, was torpedoed off Ab-
erdeen on 15 October, and on 1 January
1915 the Formidable, of 15,000 tons, was
sunk off Start Point on her way to the Dar-
danelles, with a loss of 600 of her crew.
The Germans were not, however, immune
in their submarine campaign. H.M.S. Birm-
ingham rammed and sank a German sub-
marine on 6 August, the Badger did the
like on 25 October, and U18 was sunk on 23
November; Weddigen himself was rammed,
with the loss of his submarine and all on
board, later on by the Dreadnought.
    The British losses by mine and subma-
rine created some discontent on the ground
that our naval strategy was defensive rather
than offensive; and military critics, whose
notions of naval warfare were derived from
the study of German text-books on the prin-
ciples of war on land, continually pressed for
a more active policy, and asked why our su-
perior navy did not treat the German Fleet
as the German Army treated its enemies in
France and Belgium. It was forgotten that
he who possesses all must always be on the
defensive; there must be something tangi-
ble to attack before there can be an offen-
sive, and there could have been no Trafal-
gar had Napoleon kept his fleet in harbour.
The abandonment of the high seas by the
German Navy precluded a naval battle, and
the defensive strength of harbour defences
which kept Nelson outside Toulon had so in-
creased as to make it vastly harder for Jel-
licoe to penetrate Wilhelmshaven or Kiel.
Naval power, which the war proved to be
more than ever effective on sea, was shown
to be more than ever powerless on shore.
The mine and the submarine made the sus-
tained bombardment of land fortifications
a dangerous practice, and moving batter-
ies on shore were more than a match for
ships, because they could not be sunk and
could be more easily repaired or replaced.
There were wild dreams of British forces
landing on German coasts, and still wilder
alarms about German armies descending on
British shores; but the only landing effected
on hostile territory during the war was at
Gallipoli, and it did not encourage a similar
attempt against the better defended lands
held by the Germans. We had to content
ourselves with the practical realization in
war of our continual claim in peace that
sea-power is an instrument for the defence
of island states rather than one for offence
against continental peoples. Only when and
where those peoples wished to be defended
and opened their ports to their allies, was
it found possible to land a relieving force.
The British armies which liberated Brussels
had to travel via Boulogne and not Ostend;
and the German ships which sheltered in
port had to be routed out by the pressure
of Allied arms on land.
    The naval actions of the war were there-
fore of the nature of outpost raids and skir-
mishes rather than of battles. The first that
developed any serious fighting took place
in the Bight of Heligoland on 28 August.
Apparently with the design of inducing the
Germans to come out, a flotilla of submarines
under Commodore Keyes was sent close in
to Heligoland, with some destroyers and two
light cruisers, the Arethusa and Fearless,
behind them, and more substantial vessels
out of sight in the offing. Presently there
appeared a German force of destroyers and
two cruisers, the Ariadne and the Strass-
burg; they were driven off mainly by the
gallant fighting of the Arethusa; but think-
ing there was no further support the Ger-
mans then sent out three heavier cruisers,
the Mainz, the Koln, and apparently the
Yorck. The Arethusa and Fearless held their
own for two or three hours until Beatty’s
battle-cruisers, led by the Lion, came safely
through the German mine-fields and sub-
marines to their assistance. The Lion’s 13.5-
inch guns soon settled the issue: the Mainz
and the K¨ln were sunk, while no British
unit was lost, and the casualties were 32
killed and 52 wounded against 300 German
prisoners and double that number of other
casualties. The overwhelming effect of heav-
ier gunfire had been clearly demonstrated,
and it was further illustrated on 17 October
by the destruction of four German destroy-
ers off the Dutch coast by the light cruiser
Undaunted accompanied by four British de-
stroyers; but the next exhibition of naval
gun-power was to be at our expense.
    Among the incidental advantages which
the adhesion of Great Britain brought to
the Entente was the intervention of Japan,
which, apart from its alliance with us, had
never forgiven Germany the part she took
in depriving Japan of the fruits of her vic-
tory over China in 1894, and regarded as a
standing offence the naval base which Ger-
many had established at Tsingtau and the
hold she had acquired on North Pacific is-
lands. On 15 August Japan demanded within
eight days the surrender of the lease of Ts-
ingtau and the evacuation of Far Eastern
waters by German warships. No answer
was, of course, returned, but the German
squadron under Von Spee wisely left Tsing-
tau in anticipation of its investment by the
Japanese. It began on the 27th, and troops
were landed on 2 September: on the 23rd
a British contingent arrived from Wei-hai-
wei to co-operate, and gradually the lines
of investment and the heavy artillery were
drawn closer. The final assault was fixed for
7 November, but the Germans forestalled it
by surrender; there were 3000 prisoners out
of an original garrison of 5000, and Ger-
many’s last overseas base, on which she had
spent 20,000,000, passed into the enemy’s
hands. Australian troops had already oc-
cupied without serious opposition German
New Guinea, the Bismarck archipelago, and
the Gilbert and Caroline Islands, while Samoa
surrendered to a New Zealand force, and
the Marshall Islands to the Japanese.
    Von Spee’s squadron was thus left with-
out a German naval base; but one of its
vessels was to show that there was still a
career for a raider, and the others were to
demonstrate the paradox that neutral ports
might be more useful than bases of their
own, inasmuch as they could not be treated
like Tsingtau. On fleeing from the Japanese
menace Von Spee had steamed eastwards
across the Pacific, but two of his cruisers,
the K¨nigsberg and the Emden, were de-
tached to help the Germans in East Africa
and to raid British commerce in the Indian
Ocean. On 20 September the K¨nigsberg
sank H.M.S. Pegasus at Zanzibar, but failed
to give much assistance in the projected at-
tack on Mombasa, and was presently bot-
tled up in the Rufigi River. The Emden
under Captain M¨ller had better success.
Throughout September and October she haunted
the coasts of India and harried British trade,
setting fire to an oil-tank at Madras, tor-
pedoing a Russian cruiser and a French de-
stroyer in the roadstead of Penang, and cap-
turing in all some seventeen British mer-
chantmen. She had, however, lost her own
attendant colliers about 25 October, and
a raid on the Cocos or Keeling islands on
9 November was interrupted by the arrival
of H.M.S. Sydney, which had been warned
by wireless, on her way from Australia. In
less than two hours the Sydney’s 6-in. guns
had battered the Emden to pieces, and with
only 18 casualties had killed or wounded
230 of the enemy. M¨ller became an hon-
ourable prisoner of war; he had proved him-
self the most skilful of German captains and
the best of German gentlemen.
    Meanwhile Von Spee had gained the South
American coast and made himself at home
in its friendly ports and islands. He had
with him two sister cruisers, the Scharn-
horst and the Gneisenau, each of 11,400
tons and an armament of eight 8.2-inch guns,
and three smaller cruisers, the Dresden, Leipzig,
and N¨rnberg, each about the size of the
Emden, from 3200 to 3540 tons, and carry-
ing ten 4.1-inch guns; none of them had a
speed of less than 22 knots. To protect the
South Pacific trade the British Government
had in August sent Admiral Cradock with
a somewhat miscellaneous squadron, con-
sisting of the Canopus, a pre-Dreadnought
battleship of nearly 13,000 tons, with 6-inch
armour, four l2-inch guns, and a speed of 19
knots; the Good Hope, a cruiser of 14,000
tons, with two 9.2-inch and sixteen 6-inch
guns, and a speed of 22 knots; the Mon-
mouth of 9800 tons, fourteen 6-inch guns,
and the same speed as the Good Hope; the
Glasgow of 4800 tons, with two 6-inch and
ten 4-inch guns, and a speed of 25 knots;
and the Otranto, an armed liner. Reinforce-
ments were expected from home, and pos-
sibly from Japan; but the squadrons were
not unequally matched in weight of metal,
though the British were handicapped by the
diversity and antiquity of their armament.
The balance was, however, destroyed before
the battle, because, as Cradock in the third
week of October made his way north along
the Pacific coast, the Canopus developed
defects which necessitated her being left be-
hind for repairs.
    The squadrons fell in with one another
north-west of Coronel late in the afternoon
of 1 November. Cradock had turned south,
presumably to join the Canopus, but Von
Spee secured the inestimable advantage of
the in-shore course, and as the sun set it sil-
houetted the British ships against the sky
while the gathering gloom obscured the Ger-
mans. The fight was really between the
two leading cruisers on each side, the Good
Hope and the Monmouth against the Scharn-
horst and the Gneisenau. The Germans got
the range first, and the Good Hope’s two
9.2-inch guns were soon put out of action in
spite of their superior weight. At 7:50 she
blew up, and the Monmouth was a wreck.
The lightly-armoured Glasgow had no op-
tion but to use her superior speed and es-
cape to warn the Canopus. This she did,
and the two got safely round Cape Horn
to the Falkland Isles, leaving for the time
the Germans in command of the South Pa-
cific coast. Sixteen hundred and fifty offi-
cers, midshipmen, and men lost their lives
with Cradock, and none were rescued by
the Germans. There was hardly a parallel
in British naval history for such a defeat.
    Prompt measures were taken to retrieve
it. Lord Fisher had succeeded Prince Louis
of Battenberg at the Admiralty on 30 Octo-
ber, and one of his first acts was to dispatch
on 5 November a squadron under Admiral
Sturdee, comprising the Invincible and In-
flexible, and four lighter cruisers, the Carnar-
von, Kent, Cornwall, and Bristol; the Glas-
gow was picked up in the South Atlantic,
while the Canopus was at Port Stanley in
the Falklands. The Invincible and Inflexible
were the two first battle-cruisers built; each
had a tonnage of 17,250, a speed of 27-28
knots, and eight 12-inch guns which could
be fired as a broadside to right or left; and
there would be little chance for Von Spee
if he encountered such a weight of metal.
Sturdee reached Port Stanley on 7 Decem-
ber. Von Spee, who had been refitting at
Juan Fernandez, left it on 15 November,
possibly fearing the Japanese approach, and
made for Cape Horn and the Atlantic. His
plan was to snap up the Canopus and the
Glasgow, get what he could out of the Falk-
lands, and then proceed to support the re-
bellion in South Africa. Early on 8 De-
cember he unsuspectingly approached Port
Stanley, not discovering the presence of Sturdee’s
squadron until it was too late. He then
made off north-eastwards with the Scharn-
horst and the Gneisenau, while his lighter
cruisers turned south-eastwards. The for-
mer were sunk in the afternoon by the two
British battle- cruisers and the Carnarvon,
while the latter succumbed in the evening
to the Kent, Glasgow, and Cornwall; only
the Dresden escaped, to be sunk in five min-
utes on 14 March 1915 at Juan Fernandez
by the Kent and the Glasgow. The Invin-
cible had no casualties, the Inflexible one
man killed; the Kent had four killed and
twelve wounded, and the Glasgow nine and
four. About two hundred Germans were
saved from drowning, but they did not in-
clude Von Spee.
    Such were the effects upon human life of
a disparity of weight of metal in naval ac-
tion. No skill could avoid the brutal preci-
sion of mechanical and material superiority.
Von Spee had it at Coronel, Sturdee at the
Falklands, and there is no reason to suppose
that if the persons had been exchanged, the
result would have been any different. It is
the romance of the past which attributes
naval success mainly to superior seaman-
ship or courage; the ”little” Revenge was
the super-Dreadnought of her time, and the
victories of the Elizabethan sea-dogs were
as surely won by superior weight of metal
as those of Nelson or to-day. Von Spee and
his men fought as bravely and as skilfully
as Cradock and his; and the war for com-
mand of the sea went against the Germans
because while the Germans were building
pre-Dreadnoughts and casting 8-inch guns,
we were building Dreadnoughts and cast-
ing 10 or l2-inch guns; and while they were
constructing their Dreadnoughts, we were
building super-Dreadnoughts with 13.5 and
l5-inch guns. Success in naval warfare goes
not so much to the brave as to those who
think ahead in terms of mechanical force.
    The last German cruisers outside har-
bour were now destroyed, and barely a raider
remained at large, while the British went on
gathering the fruits of their command of the
sea by mustering in Europe the forces of the
Empire and acquiring abroad the disjointed
German colonies. Naval strategy was re-
duced to the dull but arduous task of block-
ing the exits from the North Sea and guard-
ing against the furtive German raids. The
battle-fleet was stationed in Scapa Flow,
the cruisers off Rosyth, while little more
than a patrol –backed by a squadron of pre-
Dreadnoughts in the Channel –was left to
watch the Straits of Dover and supplement
the mine-fields. Both combatants drew ad-
vantage from the narrow front of Germany’s
outlook towards the sea; the exits were eas-
ier for us to close than Nelson had found
the lengthy coast of France, and no Ger-
man Fleet slipped across the Atlantic as
Villeneuve did in 1805. On the other hand,
the narrow front was easier to fortify, pro-
tect with mine-fields, and defend against at-
tack. If there was to be a conclusive naval
battle, the field would be in the North Sea,
and the only hope of success for the Ger-
mans lay in the dispersion of our battle-
   This was the object of the German raids
on Yarmouth on 3 November, and on Scar-
borough, Whitby, and the Hartlepools on
16 December. The former effected noth-
ing except sowing of some floating mines
which subsequently sank British submarine
and two fishing-smacks, while one of the
participating cruisers, the Yorck, struck a
German mine and sank on entering Wil-
helmshaven. The December raid was more
successful in its murderous intention of ex-
tending the schrecklichkeit practised in Bel-
gium to civilians on British shores. British
delegates had insisted at The Hague in 1907
on large rights of naval bombardment, and
the Germans expanded the plea that the
presence of civilians does not exempt a for-
tified town from bombardment into the ar-
gument that the presence of a soldier or
even of war-material justifies the shelling
of a crowd of civilians or a watering-place.
There was a cavalry station at Scarborough,
a coastguard at Whitby, and some infantry
and a battery at Hartlepool; Scarborough
also had a wireless installation, and Hartle-
pool its docks, and both were undoubtedly
used for purposes of war. The truth is that
war tends to pervade and absorb the whole
energies of the community, and the only
legitimate criticism of German methods is
that they pushed to extremes of barbar-
ity premisses which were commonly admit-
ted and could logically lead in no other di-
rection. The old restriction of war to a
few actual combatants disappeared as man-
hood took to universal service, womanhood
to munition-making, and whole nations to
war-work, and as the reach of artillery and
aircraft extended the sphere of operations
hundreds of miles behind the battle-lines.
Eighteen were killed at Scarborough, mostly
women and children, and 70 were wounded;
Whitby had 3 killed and 2 wounded, but
the damage at Hartlepool was serious. Six
hundred houses were damaged or destroyed,
119 persons were killed, over 300 were wounded,
and the mines the Germans scattered sank
three steamers with considerable loss of life.
The raiders escaped by the skin of their
teeth in a fog which closed down just as
two British battle-cruisers appeared on the
scene of their retreat. That the raid had
been effected at all evoked some protest from
a public unaware that such incidents have
always been an inevitable accompaniment
of all our naval wars; and critics declared
that we had lost the command of the sea in
the first great war in our history in which
not an enemy landed on English soil except
as a prisoner. It was the German plan to
provoke such comment, a feeling of insecu-
rity, and a demand for the scattering of our
Grand Fleet along the coasts for defence in
order that it might be dealt with in detail;
but the design was happily defeated by the
restraint of the people and the sense of bet-
ter judges.
    The Germans, however, were encouraged
by their success to repeat the attempt once
too often, and on 24 January 1915 a more
ambitious effort was made by Admiral Hip-
per to emulate these raids, or perhaps rather
to lure the British on to mine-fields north of
Heligoland which he extended before he set
out. He had with him three of the best Ger-
man battle-cruisers, the Derfflinger, Seydlitz,
and Moltke, with speeds ranging from 27
to 25 knots, tonnage from 26,000 to 22,000,
and 12 or 11-inch guns; the Bl¨cher of 15,550
tons, 24 knots, and 8.2-inch guns; six light
cruisers and a torpedo flotilla. The Ger-
mans rarely if ever came out without in-
formation of their intended movement pre-
ceding them, and Beatty put to sea within
an hour of their start. His flagship was
the Lion, 26,350 tons, 29 knots, and eight
l3.5-inch guns, and he had five other battle-
cruisers, the Tiger, 28,000 tons, 28 knots,
and the same armament as the Lion; the
Princess Royal, a sister ship of the Lion; the
New Zealand, 18,800 tons, 25 knots, and
eight l2-inch guns; and the Indomitable, sis-
ter to Sturdee’s Invincible and Inflexible.
There were also four cruisers of the ”town”
class, three light cruisers, and torpedo flotil-
las. The fight was, however, mainly be-
tween the battle-crusiers. As soon as Hip-
per heard of Beatty’s approach he turned
south-east. Gradually he was overhauled,
each of the leading British cruisers, Lion,
Tiger, and Princess Royal firing salvos into
the slower Bl¨cher as they passed on to
tackle the Moltke, Seydlitz, and Derfflinger.
The Bl¨cher was finally reduced to a wreck
by the New Zealand and Indomitable, and
then torpedoed by the Meteor; bombs from
German aircraft prevented our boats from
rescuing more than 120 survivors from the
sinking ship. Meanwhile the Lion was dam-
aged by a shell and had to fall behind, and
an hour and twenty minutes passed before
Beatty could return to the scene of action;
he found that his second in command had
broken off the fight out of respect for the
German mine-field, which seems, however,
to have been still thirty or forty miles away.
The German battle-cruisers, which might
apparently have been destroyed, thus got
home with a severe battering which inca-
pacitated them for action for some months.
No British ship was lost, and our casualties
were about a score of men.
    The result was disappointing in the es-
cape of the German cruisers, but it left no
doubt about the command of the sea. It
was, indeed, being daily demonstrated by
the security of the Channel passage, the
muster of forces from oversea, and the con-
quest of German colonies. These were mainly
in Africa, and consisted of Togoland, the
German Cameroons, German South-West
Africa, and East Africa. The tide of con-
quest flowed in this order round Africa from
north-west to south-east, and Togoland, which
was also the smallest, was the first to be
subdued. It was about the size of Ireland,
and was hemmed in on all sides, by British
sea-power on the south, Nigeria on the west,
and French colonies on the north and east;
and converging attacks forced the handful
of German troops to unconditional surren-
der on 27 August, The Cameroons were larger
than the German Empire in Europe, and
the first attacks, being made with inade-
quate preparation, were repulsed in the lat-
ter days of August. On 27 September, how-
ever, by co- operation between French troops
and two British warships, Duala the capital
was captured and the whole coast-line was
    The conquest of German South-West Africa
was a more serious matter, not only be-
cause the Germans were there more numer-
ous and better organized, but because the
task was complicated by the politics of the
Union. It was not a Crown colony sub-
ject to the orders of the Imperial Govern-
ment; troops could only move at the in-
stance of a responsible local administration,
and the back-veld Boers, led by Hertzog
and De Wet, were strenuously opposed to
participation in the war on the British side.
Fortunately, perhaps, the Germans began
hostilities by raiding the frontiers of Cape
Colony, and on 18 September the British
retaliated by seizing Luderitz Bay, which,
like their other port, Swakopmund, the Ger-
mans had abandoned to concentrate at their
inland capital, Windhoek. On the 26th there
was a small British reverse at Sandfontein,
which was followed by the more serious news
of Maritz’ rebellion in the Cape. Maritz
had fought against the British in the Boer
War and for the Germans against the re-
volted Hereros; he now held the ambiguous
position of rank in the German Army and
command of British forces, but came down
on the German side of the fence. Botha
ordered his arrest, and Maritz, with Ger-
man assistance in arms and ammunition,
attempted to overrun the north-west of Cape
Colony. A fortnight’s campaign in October
ended with the dispersal of his commandos
by Colonel Van Deventer.
   Maritz was the stormy petrel of a far
more serious disturbance. While the grant
of self-government to the Transvaal and the
Orange River Colony in 1908 had placated
the great majority and the better-educated
Boers, tradition and prejudice kept their
hold upon the more conservative minority;
and some like Beyers, who had once been
received by the Kaiser, looked to a war with
Germany to restore their ancient indepen-
dence. On 24 October De Wet seized Heil-
bronn in the Orange State, and Beyers Rusten-
burg in the Transvaal. Botha’s appeal to
the loyal Boers met, however, with an ef-
fective response, and soon he had 30,000
men at his disposal. He acted with remark-
able swiftness: on the 27th he dispersed
the commandos of Beyers and Kemp, and
on 7 November General Smuts announced
that there were but a few scattered bands
of rebels in the Transvaal. De Wet made a
longer run by his elusive heels, but found
the motor-transport of his enemies an in-
superable bar to the repetition of his ex-
ploits of 1900-2. He had a slight success at
Doornberg on 7 November, when his force
amounted to 2000 men; but Botha now came
south into the Orange State and completely
defeated De Wet on the 11th to the east of
Winburg. De Wet himself escaped and at-
tempted a junction with Beyers who had
fled south from the Transvaal. But he was
gradually driven westward into the Kala-
hari desert and overtaken by Colonel Jor-
daan’s motors a hundred miles west of Mafek-
ing on 1 December, while Beyers was drowned
in trying to cross the Vaal on the 8th. De
Wet was once more given his life, and the
other rebels were treated with a lenience
which nothing but its wisdom could excuse.
   The rising put off to another year the
conquest of German South-West Africa. The
conquest of East Africa (see Map, p. 249)
was postponed for a longer period by the
inherent difficulties of the task and the im-
ported defects in its management. German
East Africa was actually and potentially by
far the most valuable of German oversea
possessions. Twice the size of Germany, it
had a population of eight million natives
and five thousand Europeans. Although
tropical in its climate, high ground, and
especially the slopes of Kilimanjaro, pro-
vided inhabitable land for white men, and
its wealth in forests, gold and other miner-
als, pastoral and agricultural facilities was
considerable. There were four excellent ports,
and from two of them, Tanga and the cap-
ital, Dar-es-Salaam, railways ran far into
the interior. On the north it was bounded
by British East Africa and Uganda, on the
west by the Belgian Congo State, and on
the south-west by British Nyasaland and
Northern Rhodesia, while on the south Por-
tuguese Mozambique provided some means
of supply and an ultimate refuge in defeat.
The German forces were greatly superior
to those of the British in East Africa, and
the Uganda railway from Mombasa to Lake
Victoria Nyanza running parallel with the
frontier was a tempting object of attack.
The Germans took the offensive against the
British north and south-west, without achiev-
ing any great success. But only the arrival
of reinforcements from India on 3 Septem-
ber and the failure of the Konigsberg to co-
operate prevented the fall of Mombasa, and
only the inadequacy of the British maps,
on which the Germans had for once to rely,
frustrated their attack on the Uganda rail-
way. Karungu was also besieged on Lake
Victoria Nyanza, but relieved by a couple
of British vessels; the invaders of Northern
Rhodesia were beaten back; and a naval
force bombarded Dar-es- Salaam and de-
stroyed the wireless installation. The ar-
rival of a second expeditionary force from
India on 1 November was the prelude to a
greater reverse. Landing at Tanga on the
4th, it was met by a German force, supe-
rior in the art of bush fighting if not in
numbers which hurried down from Moschi,
and was compelled to re-embark with a loss
of 800 casualties. During the brief span of
their colonial experience the Germans had
learnt as much about colonial warfare as we
could teach them after centuries; for tradi-
tions are not an unmixed blessing in the art
of war.
    The Battles Of The Aisne
    Throughout the war there was an under-
current of criticism against the dispersion of
British forces and dissipation of British en-
ergy, and the briefest history of it cannot
avoid a certain amount of discursiveness.
The reason, if not the justification, is the
same in both cases; for happily or unhap-
pily the British Empire is scattered all over
the globe, and unless colonies were to be
abandoned to enemy attacks and the nat-
ural forces of native discontents, they had
to be defended in part at least by British
troops. Fortunately the task required but
a fraction of the military strength which
Germany needed to hold Alsace-Lorraine
in time of peace, and long before the end
Great Britain received from her dominions
fourfold the help in Europe that she had to
lend them overseas. The rally to the British
flag was to us one of the most inspiring, and
to the Germans one of the most dispirit-
ing, portents in the war; but it took time
to bear its fruits, and meanwhile the cause
of civilization had to rely upon the gallantry
of French armies and the numerically weak
British forces fighting on the Marne and on
the Aisne.
    The human eye is ever longing to pierce
the veil of the future, but it was perhaps
as well that men could not foresee, as the
Allies drove the Germans across the lower
reaches of the Aisne, how long that river
would be reddened with the blood of the
contending forces. They thought that the
tide of invasion would recede as fast as it
had advanced, and it was only as the days of
German resistance lengthened into weeks,
and the weeks into months of the longest
battle in history, that staffs and armies and
peoples began to grasp the awful potential-
ities of scientific progress in the art of mod-
ern war. The battle without a morrow had
long been the ideal consummation for vic-
torious strategy, but no one had yet fore-
seen the battle without an end and armies
without flanks. That sooner or later one or
other combatant would be outflanked had
been the universal assumption of the strate-
gist; but in the autumn of 1914 the combat-
ant forces gradually extended their fronts in
the effort until they rested upon the frontier
of Switzerland and the sea, and the dead-
lock of a deadly embrace began which was
not effectively broken until the wrestling of
four years wore down the strength of the
wrestlers and left the final decision in the
hands of new-comers to the European field
of battle.
    The deadlock was no part of the original
German plan, but German forethought dur-
ing the advance to the Marne had provided
entrenchments in the rear for the event of a
retreat, and the natural strength of the for-
est of St. Gobain, the Chemin des Dames,
and the Argonne as well as a study of the
campaign of 1814 had suggested an obvi-
ous line of defence. It was not, however,
expected by the Entente higher command
which proceeded with its frontal attack on
the assumption that the Germans were merely
fighting rearguard actions to secure their
further retirement; and it was only when
the German front refused to budge that pres-
sure spread out to the Allied left wing in
an attempt to turn the German right flank,
which would have stood more chance of suc-
cess had it come a fortnight earlier as a first
instead of a second thought. An even bet-
ter alternative might have been to revert
to Joffre’s original plan, which had failed
in August on the Saar, to thrust forward
against the Crown Prince and threaten the
left of the Germans and the communica-
tions of their forces in Belgium and north-
ern France. But it is easier on paper after
the event than it was in action at the time
to convert an improvised defensive into a
considered offensive strategy; and the Ger-
mans themselves had occasion during the
autumn and the rest of the war to regret
that their second thoughts had not come
    The battle of the Aisne began, like that
of the Marne, on Sunday, 13 September.
The Germans’ retreat had taken them north
of the river except at a few bridgeheads, but
the river was deep and its crossings were
all commanded by fire from German batter-
ies concealed on the slopes rising up from
the northern bank. Maunoury’s 6th Army
attacked on the left from Compi`gne and
the Forˆt de l’Aigle to Soissons, and sev-
eral divisions were got across. From Sois-
sons eastward for fifteen miles to Pont-Arcy
the line of attack was held by the British
Army; the whole of the 4th Division got
across near Venizel, and most of the 5th and
3rd Divisions farther east, but the Germans
succeeded in holding the bridge at Cond´. e
The 2nd Division was also only partially
successful in the region of Chavonne, but
the whole of the 1st got across at Pont-
Arcy and Bourg. On Monday, Maunoury
pressed forward up the heights, capturing
Autr`ches and Nouvron, but, like the British
on his right between Vregny and Vailly, he
found the German positions impregnable on
the plateau. Haig’s First Corps was more
successful farther east; Vendresse and Troyon
were captured and the Chemin des Dames
was almost reached. But D’Esperey’s 5th
French army could make little impression
on the Craonne plateau; Foch’s 9th was un-
able to force the Suippe to the east of Reims,
and Langle’s 4th, while it occupied Souain,
was similarly held up in Champagne.
   On the 15th the Germans counter-attacked.
Maunoury was driven out of Nouvron and
Autr`ches, the British were forced back from
Vregny almost to the river, and the Moroc-
can troops withdrew on Haig’s right flank.
There was a lull on the 16th, and on the
17th Maunoury recovered the quarries of
Autr`ches; but east of Reims the 9th Army
had fallen back from the Suippe, and the
Prussian Guard had captured Nogent l’Abbesse
and was threatening Foch’s connexion with
Langle in Champagne. The 18th saw lit-
tle progress on either side, except along the
Oise, where Maunoury had as early as the
15th begun to outflank the German right.
This success, coupled with the stalemate
along the rest of the front, suggested to Jof-
fre a change of strategy. Numerically the
opposing forces were not unequal, but the
Germans had all the advantages of position.
To attack up carefully protected slopes with
a river in the rear and its crossings com-
manded by the enemy’s fire, promised lit-
tle hope of success, and threatened disaster
in case of failure and retreat. Accordingly,
Joffre, taking some risks by weakening his
centre, began on the 16th to lengthen and
strengthen his left by forming two new armies.
Castlenau gave up his command of the 2nd
to Dubail in Lorraine and took over the new
7th, and a 10th was entrusted to Maud’huy,
another of the professors of military his-
tory to whom the French and the Russian
armies owed so much of their generalship.
By the 20th Maunoury had swung his left
round until it stretched at a right angle
from Compi`gne north to the west of Las-
signy. Castelnau’s 7th continued the line
north through Roye to the Albert plateau;
and on the 30th Maud’huy’s 10th took up
the tale through Arras to Lens.
    But if the impact of equal forces on the
Aisne flattened them out towards the west,
it had the same effect in the other direction,
though here it was the Germans who took
the offensive in trying to penetrate Sarrail’s
flank on the Meuse and thus get behind the
whole front of the Allies. Verdun was the
nut to be cracked, but Sarrail had been ex-
tending its defences so as to put the city
beyond the reach of the German howitzers
and surrounding it with miles of trenches
and wire-entanglements; and the Germans
preferred to attempt another method than
frontal attack. About the 20th four new
corps, chiefly of W¨rttemburgers, appeared
in Lorraine, bringing their forces up to seven
against Sarrail’s three; and an attack was
made on Fort Troyon on the Meuse which
reduced it to a dust-heap but failed to carry
the Germans across the river. A more seri-
ous onslaught was made on the 23rd against
St. Mihiel, which was captured while the
neighbouring forts of Paroches and the Camp
des Romains were destroyed. But again
the Germans were prevented from pushing
their advantage, and were left with no more
than a wonderful salient which looked on
the map like Germany putting out its tongue
at France and resisted all efforts to repress
this insolence until the closing months of
the war.
    Having achieved but a sterile success to
the south of Verdun, the Crown Prince en-
countered a greater failure to the west. On
3 October he attacked Sarrail’s centre in the
forest of the Argonne, seeking to recapture
St. Menehould, the headquarters he had
abandoned on 14 September. His troops
were caught in La Grurie wood and so badly
mauled that they temporarily lost Varennes
and the main road through the Argonne
to Verdun. Foiled in both these directions,
the Germans revenged themselves by bom-
barding Reims in the centre and ruining its
cathedral; ”the commonest, ugliest stone,”
wrote a German general, ”placed to mark
the burial-place of a German grenadier is a
more glorious and perfect monument than
all the cathedrals in Europe put together.”
The bombardment did not help them much;
Neuvillette, which they had seized two miles
north of Reims, was lost again on 28 Septem-
ber, and the French also recovered Prunay,
the German occupation of which had driven
a wedge between Foch’s and Langle’s armies.
On the other hand, Berry-au-Bac, where
the great road crossed the Aisne and the
French often reported progress, remained in
German hands for four years longer. Both
sides were now firmly entrenched, and their
armies were learning that new art of trench
warfare which was to tax their ingenuity,
test their endurance, and drain their strength,
until years later this war of positions once
more gave place to a war of movement. The
lines had become stabilized, and between
Reims and the Alps they did not alter by
half a dozen miles at any point from Septem-
ber 1914 until September 1918. The ques-
tion of October was whether and where they
would be fixed between the Aisne and the
    Joffre’s outflanking move was promptly
countered, if not indeed anticipated, by the
German higher command, and in the first
days of October there was a general drift
of German forces towards their right and
the Channel ports. Most and the best of
the new levies were sent into Belgium, and
the stoutest troops in the fighting line were
shifted from East to West. Alsace was al-
most denuded; the Bavarians were moved
from Lorraine towards Lille and Arras, and
the Duke of W¨rttemberg into Belgian Flan-
ders. Von Bulow was sent to face Castelnau
and Maud’huy between the Oise and the
Somme, and only Von Kluck and the Crown
Prince with a new general, Von Heeringen,
from Alsace were left to hold the line of
the Aisne. Von Moltke was superseded by
Falkenhayn, and a new phase came over
German strategy. The knock-out blow against
France had failed, and the little British Army
threatened to grow. France had been the
only foe the Germans had counted in the
West, but a new enemy was developing strength,
and the German front was turned to meet
the novel danger.
   The British Army made a movement which
was sympathetic with this change and symp-
tomatic of the future course of the war. It
was clearly out of place along the Aisne in
trenches which could be held by French ter-
ritorials and where its long communications
crossed those of three French armies. It was
needed in Flanders close to its bases and
to the Channel ports which the Germans
had now resolved to seize in the hope of
cutting or straining the Anglo-French liai-
son and furthering their new campaign on
land and sea against their gathering British
foes. The idea had occurred to Sir John
French before the end of September, and
on the 29th he propounded it to Joffre; Jof-
fre concurred, called up an 8th Army under
D’Urbal to support and prolong the exten-
sion of the line into Flanders, and placed
Foch in general charge of the operations
north of Noyon. The transport began on
3 October and was admirably carried out,
though some of the ultra-patriotic English
newspapers did their best to help the en-
emy by their enterprise in evading the Cen-
sor and giving news of the movement to the
public; for if business was business to the
profiteer, news was news to its vendors.
    For a fortnight the British were on the
road and out of the fight, which was left
for the most part to Castelnau’s 7th and
Maud’huy’s 10th Armies; and strenuous fight-
ing it was for all-important objects. There
was little profit in a British out-march round
the German flank in Flanders unless the
links between it and the Oise could be main-
tained, and the Germans were as speedily
reinforcing and extending their right as we
were preparing to turn it. At first Castel-
nau seemed to be making rapid and sub-
stantial progress; he captured Noyon on 21
September, was pushing on by Lassigny to
Roye, and optimistic maps in the English
press depicted the German right being bent
back to St. Quentin and the French out-
flanking it as far north-east as Le Catelet.
These were not intelligent anticipations. Von
Kluck had been reinforced, and a desperate
battle ensued from the 25th to the 28th,
in which Castelnau was driven back from
Noyon and Lassigny. This counter-attack
was repulsed with great losses at Quesnoy
and Lihons a little farther north, but Maud’huy
was not less heavily engaged north of the
Somme in a several days’ struggle for the
Albert plateau. The line established was
supposed to run through Combles and Ba-
paume, and it was not till long afterwards
that the public realized how far it had sagged
to the westwards, or what that sagging meant
when the British had to fight their way up
to Bapaume.
    North of that watershed the fronts were
fluid, if the scattered bodies of French Ter-
ritorials and German cavalry could be said
to constitute a front at all; and there was
a strenuous race and struggle to turn the
respective flanks. Neither side, it was soon
apparent, would succeed in that object, and
the practical question was at what point the
outflanking contest would reach the coast.
The German ambition was to push their
right as far south as the mouth of the Seine,
while the Allies hoped to thrust their left to
the north until it joined the Belgian Army
at Antwerp. Maud’huy had entered Arras
on 30 September, and some of his Territori-
als pushed forward to Lille and Douai. Dur-
ing the first three days of October he was
fighting hard on the eastern slopes of Vimy
Ridge but was compelled to fall back on Ar-
ras, while the Germans occupied Lille and
Douai and their cavalry penetrated as far
as Bailleul, Hazebrouck, and Cassel. But
the British from the Aisne were moving up
towards their positions on Maud’huy’s left,
the Aire-La Bass´e Canal being fixed as the
point of their junction, and the 7th Divi-
sion, with a division of cavalry, had landed
at Ostend and Zeebrugge while the Naval
Division was sent to assist in the defence
of Antwerp. The Allied dream of a front
along the Scheldt to Antwerp, barring Ger-
man access to the sea, seemed on the verge
of realization; but dramatic as the moment
was, the tension would have been far more
acute had men grasped what a difference
possession of the Belgian coast was to make
in the course of the war.
    Success was missed by the Allies because
it had been a more urgent task to break
the German offensive on the Marne than to
save the remnants of Belgian soil and as-
sist the detached Belgian Army; and the
whole of our available force had been sent
to the vital spot. Isolation is always dubi-
ous strategy, but there were sound as well as
natural motives behind the decision which
led the Belgian Army after the German oc-
cupation of Brussels on 20 August to fall
back north-westwards on Antwerp instead
of southwards to join the Allies at Mons and
Charleroi. The isolation did not involve in-
effectiveness, and so far away as the Marne
the Allies experienced the benefit of Bel-
gian fighting at Antwerp. Three successive
sorties alarmed the Germans for the safety
of their far-flung right and its communica-
tions, and diverted reserves from their front
in France to their rear in Belgium (see Map,
p. 34). The first began on 24 August and
drove the Germans from Malines, while 2000
British marines landed at Ostend. Then the
Belgian right stretched out a hand towards
the British and captured Alost, while the
left struck at Cortenburg on the line be-
tween Brussels and Louvain. The commu-
nications of the capital were thus threat-
ened on three sides, and the Germans had
to recall at least three of their corps from
France. It was this interference with their
vital plans in France, coupled with the panic
produced by the Belgian advance, which
provoked the Germans into their barbar-
ities at Louvain, Malines, and Termonde.
Schrecklichkeit was to deter the contemptible
Belgian Army from spoiling a mighty Ger-
man success. That was the view of the Ger-
man staff, and a soldiery prone as ever to
pillage and rapine, needed little encourage-
ment to extend to civilians, women, and
children the violence which their leaders or-
ganized against cathedrals and cities.
    Panic produces plots in all countries–in
the minds of the panic-stricken, and Ger-
mans no doubt believed in the tales of civil-
ian conspiracies which they used to justify
their military crimes. Major Von Manteuf-
fel ordered the systematic destruction of Lou-
vain, with its ancient university and mag-
nificent library. The Cathedral and Palais
de Justice at Malines were ruined by bom-
bardment after the Belgian troops had left
it; and Termonde was burnt because a fine
was not paid in time. Massacre, looting,
and outrage attained a licence which only
the Germans themselves had equalled dur-
ing the Thirty Years’ War. It and other
orgies were a natural expression of German
militarism; for excessive restraint in one di-
rection provokes relaxation in others, and
the tighter the bond of martial law, the less
the respect for civil codes. The proverbial
licence of soldiery is the reaction against
their military discipline.
    The second, called ”the great sortie” from
Antwerp, nearly coincided with the battle
of the Marne. It began on 9 September:
Termonde was reoccupied, but the main ef-
fort was towards Aerschot and Louvain. Aer-
schot was recaptured on the 9th, though the
fiercest struggle took place at Weerde be-
tween Malines and Brussels. Kessel, just
outside Louvain, was taken on the 10th,
but German reinforcements began to arrive
on the 11th, and two days later the Bel-
gians were back in their positions on the
Nethe, their retirement being marked, as
before, by a fresh series of German atroci-
ties. A third sortie induced by representa-
tions of the French higher command and by
the impression that the German forces be-
fore Antwerp had been reduced, was planned
for 26-27 September, and some fighting oc-
curred at Alost and Moll. But by this time
the new Germany strategy was at work, and
the ”side-shows” of the first phase of the
war became the main objectives of the sec-
ond. The French Army was fairly secure
in its trenches and the way to Paris was
barred. But the approach to the Channel
ports was not yet closed, and Antwerp was
on the way to the Belgian coast. It was
a fine city to ransom; its loss might con-
vince the Belgians that there was no hope
for their independence; and historical Ger-
mans bethought themselves of Napoleon’s
description of Antwerp as a pistol pointed
at England’s heart. Its fall would be some
consolation for the lack of a second Sedan,
and on 28 September the siege began.
    The Antwerp defences had been, like those
of Li`ge and Namur, designed by Brialmont,
and were begun in 1861. But the rapid
growth of the city and the increasing range
of guns made Brialmont’s ring of forts, which
was drawn little more than two miles from
the walls, useless as a protection against
bombardment, and twenty years later a wider
circle of forts, which was barely completed
when war broke out, was begun ten miles
farther out, beyond the Rupel and the Nethe,
and extending almost to Malines. One of
the objects of the Belgian sorties had been
to keep this ring intact and prevent the Ger-
man howitzers from being brought up within
range of the city. But there are only two
means by which forts can be made effective
defences; either their artillery must be equal
in range and power to that of the attacking
force, or the attacking force must be pre-
vented by defending troops from bringing
its howitzers within range. Neither of these
two conditions was fulfilled. The Belgian
trenches, so far as any had been dug, were
close under this outer ring of forts, and the
German 28-cm. howitzers had an effective
range of at least a mile and a half longer
than that of any guns the Belgians could
mount. These howitzers had already dis-
posed of the fortifications of Li`ge, Namur,
and Maubeuge, and it was only a question
of days and hours when they would make a
breach in the outer defences of Antwerp.
    Their fire was concentrated on Forts Wael-
hem and Wavre, south and east of Antwerp.
Both had been destroyed by 1 October, and
the reservoir near the former, which sup-
plied the city with water, was broken down,
flooding the Belgian trenches north of the
Nethe, beyond which they had now taken
refuge. Farther to the left Termonde was
seized by German infantry and the Belgians
driven across the Scheldt. On the 2nd the
Government resolved to leave Antwerp, but
its departure and the flight of the civilians
were postponed by the arrival of Mr. Churchill,
First Lord of the Admiralty, and first a brigade
of Royal Marines and then two naval brigades
of splendid but raw and ill-armed recruits.
They were at once sent out to help the Bel-
gians to defend their trenches along the north
bank of the Nethe against the German num-
bers and their more effective shells. On the
5th and following night both the left and
centre of the defence were pierced, the Ger-
mans crossed the Nethe, and began to con-
centrate their howitzers on the inner line
of ramparts. On the 7th the exodus from
the city began by land and water, and amid
heartrending scenes a quarter of a million
people strove to reach the Dutch frontier or
safety on the sea. The Belgian and British
troops did their best to hold off the Ger-
mans while the flight proceeded and the city
was subject to bombardment. It was doubt-
ful whether any would get away, for the
Germans had at last begun serious fight-
ing up the Scheldt in order to cut off the
retreat towards Zeebrugge and Ostend. In
the narrow gap between the intruding Ger-
mans and the Dutch frontier some were forced
across the latter and interned; others fell
into the enemy’s hands; and less than a
third of the first Naval Brigade escaped to
England. On the 9th the bombardment
ceased, and on the 10th the Germans made
their formal entry into a well-nigh deserted
city. They had got their pistol pointed at
the heart of England, but like Napoleon
they learnt that it was a pistol which could
only be fired by sea-power.
    Most of the Belgian Army with the rem-
nants of the British forces got away to the
coast through the gap beyond the Scheldt
which Von Beseler had failed to close in
time; and it is impossible to say whether
the gallant efforts of the Royal Marines and
naval brigades did more to facilitate this
escape than the postponement of the re-
treat, caused by their arrival, did to frus-
trate it. As an end in itself the expedition
for the relief of Antwerp was a failure; but
it was designed to subserve a larger oper-
ation, the scope of which has not yet been
revealed. At the time of its dispatch there
may still have been hopes for the success of
Joffre’s larger strategical scheme of bend-
ing back the German flank in Flanders be-
hind the Scheldt; and obviously, if the fail-
ure of the Germans at the Marne and a
successful defence of Antwerp by the En-
tente should induce the Dutch to intervene,
the German position in the West would be
completely turned. In either case ”other
and more powerful considerations,” as the
Admiralty expressed it on 17 October, pre-
vented the ”large operation” of which the
expedition of the Naval Division had been
merely a part, from being carried out; and
the ”powerful consideration” may have been
the forces which Germany was massing at
Aix and in Belgium to defeat the Entente
strategy in Flanders.
    The Campaigns In Artois
    The fall of Antwerp was as fatal to our
scheme of controlling the Scheldt as Castle-
nau’s and Maud’huy’s successful defence be-
tween the Oise and Arras had been to the
German project of reaching the mouth of
the Seine; and it still remained to be seen
at what point the expanding pressure upon
the opposing flanks would impinge upon the
coast. Neither side had yet reconciled it-
self to or perhaps conceived of such a stale-
mate to their strategy. Rawlinson’s 7th Di-
vision of infantry and 3rd of cavalry had not
been landed at Zeebrugge and Ostend on 6
October to defend those ports or even the
Yser, and the fresh German armies advanc-
ing through Belgium were not intended to
waste their strength on the ridges in front
of Ypres or floods around Dixmude. The
Germans hoped, if not to turn the Entente
flank, at least to seize Dunkirk, Calais, and
Boulogne; and Joffre and French were plan-
ning to make La Bass´e, Lille, and Menin
the pivot of a turning movement which should
liberate Brussels, isolate Von Beseler in Antwerp,
and threaten the rear of the German posi-
tion along the Aisne. To render these plans
feasible it was necessary that La Bass´e and
Lille should be held and that the indefinite
German flank in Flanders should be out-
reached; and thus the country from Arras
northwards to the coast became the ground
on which the autumn campaign in the West
was doomed to be decided.
    Antwerp fell amid a fluid front. On 9
October Maud’huy’s 10th Army was hold-
ing up in front of Arras; but his Territori-
als were falling back on Lille and its envi-
ronment as the Belgians retreated to join
Rawlinson at Ostend. French’s three corps
were on their way to prolong and establish
Maud’huy’s left, and an 8th French army
under D’Urbal was designed to fling the line
yet farther north. But the Germans were
bent on a similar object, and their masses of
cavalry, released from the front on the Aisne
by its settlement into trenches, were keep-
ing open the country and the issue. The
rival armies were like two doors swinging
towards one another on the same hinge; but
they were not wooden or rigid, and the bang-
ing together began at the hinge near La
Bass´e and extended northwards to the coast
in a concussion spread over several days.
On 11 October Smith-Dorrien’s 2nd Corps
reached the La Bass´e Canal between Aire
and B´thune, while Gough’s cavalry was
clearing the German patrols out of the for-
est of Nieppe. On the 12th he attempted
a frontal attack on La Bass´e, but found
the German position too strong, and deter-
mined to try to wheel round it on the north.
This movement had some success; the 3rd
Division drove the Germans from village to
village until on the 17th Aubers and Her-
lies, north to north-east of La Bass´e, were
taken by assault. But the Germans were
simultaneously and in the same way driv-
ing in the French Territorials; on the 13th
they occupied Lille, and on the 19th an Irish
brigade which had advanced beyond Herlies
to Le Pilly was cut off and captured. So far
as the 2nd Corps was concerned the doors
had banged together.
     Pulteney’s 3rd was moving towards col-
lision on the left. It detrained from St.
Omer on the 11th, drove the Germans out
of Meteren on the 13th, occupied Bailleul
and Armenti`res and then crossed the Lys,
gaining a line from Le Gheir, north of Ar-
menti`res, to Bois Grenier by the 17th. An
attempt to clear the right bank farther north
failed against the opposition of the Ger-
man front from Radinghen to Frelinghien
and thence along the river. Here, too, the
way was barred, but north of the Lys there
was as yet no stable control. There were
some French and British cavalry and some
weak detachments of infantry; but Haig’s
1st Corps had not yet completed its trans-
port from the Aisne, Rawlinson’s 7th Divi-
sion was being expanded into a 4th Corps,
and the Belgian Army was painfully mak-
ing its retreat from Antwerp. On the 13th
Von Beseler was in Ghent, on the 14th in
Bruges, and on the 16th in Ostend. The
outflanking here was being done by the Ger-
mans with uncomfortable rapidity. On the
day that the Germans entered Ostend, the
Belgians were driven out of the forest of
Houthulst and took refuge far behind the
Yser. Four French cavalry divisions recov-
ered the forest on the 17th, but the 7th
British Division which had occupied Roulers
on the 13th was driven back to a line south-
east of Ypres running through Zandvoorde,
Gheluvelt, and Zonnebeke (see Map, p. 288).
   D’Urbal’s 8th French army now, how-
ever, came up to support the exhausted Bel-
gians and assist in holding the Yser from
Dixmude to the sea, where British warships
were assembled to harass the German flank
along the dunes; and Sir John French thought
the moment had come for an offensive wheel
round Menin towards the Scheldt. Haig’s
1st Corps was expected shortly to fill the
gap between Rawlinson’s 4th and D’Urbal,
and Rawlinson was instructed to advance
on the 18th, seize Menin, and then await
Haig, who was to move through Ypres on
to Thourout, Bruges, and Ghent. In Eng-
land it was confidently expected that the
Germans, who had arrived at Ostend on a
Friday, would enjoy but a week-end visit to
the seaside resort, and the newspapers were
not more sadly optimistic or ill-informed
than headquarters in France. The orders
given on the 18th and 19th could only have
been the outcome of complete ignorance of
the strength of the German Army, which
was as much underestimated by the Intel-
ligence Department on the spot as it was
later exaggerated by writers on the cam-
paign. In reality four new German Corps
were already at Brussels or Courtrai mainly
from W¨rttemberg and Bavaria, and although
the presence in them of men with grey beards
and boys with none gave rise to some ill-
timed satisfaction in the British press, these
Landsturm troops were not to be despised.
Rawlinson moved on Menin on the 19th,
but was stopped three miles away by the
German masses coming from Courtrai, and
had to entrench on a line running east of
Gheluvelt. On the same day the 1st Corps
detrained at St. Omer and marched to-
wards Ypres. Instead of advancing on Thourout
and beyond, it had to dig itself in on a
line of defence from Rawlinson’s left at Zon-
nebeke to Bixschoote, where the French be-
gan their own and the Belgian front along
the Yser to Nieuport.
    The impact of the opposing forces had
flattened them out until they extended to
the coast, and the point at which they reached
it remained fixed for four years to a day. In-
stead of a brilliant strategical run round the
enemy’s flanks to a distant goal in his rear,
there was fated to be a strenuous scrim-
mage all along the line. It was a democratic
sort of war, depending for its decision upon
the stoutness of the pack rather than on
the genius of the individual. The pressure
was differently distributed at different peri-
ods during those endless years; now it was
Ypres, now Verdun, then the Somme and
the Chemin des Dames that was selected
for the special push; and in time as their
man-power began to fail the Germans laid
greater stress on the concrete of their lines.
But the line was never really broken, and no
flank was ever fully turned. It wavered at
places and times now in favour of one side
and now in that of the other; but the end
only came when the whole was pushed back
by superior weight of numbers, advancing
at an average rate of less than a mile a day.
    The first great trial of strength is asso-
ciated in British minds with the first bat-
tle of Ypres. The French dwell rather on
the equally strenuous struggle farther south
round Arras under Foch. For the line of
battle stretched north from the Albert plateau
for a hundred miles, and we can hardly claim
that the boys and the middle-aged men, at
whom some were inclined to scoff, in Flan-
ders were the pick of the German troops
sent into the fray. The glory of the de-
fence consisted rather in the resistance of
better troops to superior numbers backed
by a vast preponderance of artillery. The
estimates of the German forces are still lit-
tle more than conjectures; and the figures
of a million and a half Germans to half a
million French, British, and Belgians, or of
fifty corps to twelve and a half, will prob-
ably be corrected when the German statis-
tics are known. If it is further true that
at the actual points of fighting the dispro-
portion was five to one, we need no further
illustration of the ills which inadequate co-
ordination imposes on an Alliance, and in-
adequate staff-work and intelligence on any
fighting force. The Allied tactics were prob-
ably not so clumsy nor the German troops
so feeble as these thoughtless estimates im-
    It was not a struggle in which there was
much scope for strategy on either side, be-
cause there had been no fixed data on which
to base it. Each combatant had been bent
on out- flanking the other before the sea
was reached and success denied; but nei-
ther knew from day to day or hour to hour
where his own or the enemy’s line would be.
It was idle to plan at headquarters the in-
vestment of places which might at the mo-
ment be well behind the lines, or the de-
fence of others which the enemy might al-
ready have passed; and the alleged inexpli-
cable nature of the German strategy seems
to be largely due to an antedating of the es-
tablishment of a line of battle. They might
have done better to concentrate on Arras
with a view to breaking the Anglo-French
liaison on the La Bass´e Canal and isolat-
ing the British Army, than to distribute
their onslaughts over a front of a hundred
miles. But the problem was to outflank a
wing which was still in the air, and not to
break a line which was not yet formed; and
even if it were in existence, subsequent ex-
perience would have justified the conviction
that success was to be obtained by pressure
along an extended front rather than by con-
centration on limited sectors like Verdun, or
even the 18-mile front of the battle of the
Somme. The struggle which closed the au-
tumn campaign in the West was not, in fact,
a new battle fought on a preconceived plan,
but the final clash of armies seeking to out-
march each other’s flanks in a battle begun
on the Marne; and the popular German ad-
vertisement of a new campaign against the
Channel ports and a different enemy than
the French was merely a fresh coat of paint
designed to cover a structure that had gone
to pieces.
    Apart from the effort to outflank, nei-
ther side could therefore have any definite
plan, and neither was able to choose the
scene of conflict. Two years later, when
they withdrew to the Hindenburg lines, the
Germans admitted freely enough that the
earlier line had been none of their choice,
and it was certainly none of ours. It was, in
fact, imposed upon both the combatants by
that same balance of forces which eventu-
ally also imposed upon them, against their
will, the deadlock in the West. On 19 Oc-
tober Sir John French was still hoping that
Haig could outflank the Germans at Ghent,
and the presence of the Kaiser on the coast
a few days later suggests that his gener-
als still cherished the idea of an outmarch
rather than a break-through. It was the
British Navy that put the final check on
that design, and accident played its part.
Three Brazilian monitors of shallow draught
but heavy armament had been purchased
by the Admiralty in August: they could
work inshore even along the shallow wa-
ters of the Belgian coast which precluded
counter-attack by submarines, and from 18
to 28 October their guns swept the Belgian
shore for six miles inland and repelled the
onslaught of the German right on Nieuport.
Haig’s outflanking project had been ren-
dered equally impossible by the strength of
the German resistance to Rawlinson’s move
on Menin, and by the 21st both sides had
been pinned down to a ding-dong soldiers’
battle all along the front. Its chronology is
as important as its localities, and it is hard
to follow the course of the struggle if the
narrative loses itself in the different threads
of the various corps engaged. For all were
fighting at the same time, and the only gen-
eralizations possible are that the straggle
tended to concentrate from both wings to-
wards the apex at Ypres and to culminate
in the combat of the last day of the month.
    This bird’s-eye view and lack of infor-
mation about the details do less than justice
to the crucial battle, which Maud’huy un-
der Foch’s general direction waged against
the Germans round Arras and both they
and the French regard as one of the deci-
sive incidents in the war. Clearly, if Von
Buelow succeeded in breaking through to-
wards Doullens or B´thune there was little
to stop his reaching Boulogne or Abbeville,
and the British Army would be first iso-
lated and then driven into the sea. The
struggle for Arras began on the 20th, after
the Germans had secured an initial advan-
tage by seizing Lens, and Von Buelow was
given the Prussian Guard to achieve its cap-
ture. The climax was reached on the 24th
in an attempt to take the important railway
junction of Achicourt just south of the city.
Arras itself was reduced almost to ruins by
the German bombardment; but Maud’huy’s
men held good, and on the 26th were even
able to take the offensive. The Germans
were driven out of their most advanced po-
sitions, though they held the Vimy Ridge,
and accepting defeat before Arras, trans-
ferred some of their best troops, including
the Prussian Guards, farther north. Pos-
sibly this relinquishment was the worst of
their tactical mistakes, but the higher com-
mands on both sides had learnt the cost
of persisting in attempts to break through,
and Falkenhayn may well have thought it
best to seek a weaker spot.
    Maud’huy’s successful resistance made
it possible for Smith-Dorrien’s 2nd Corps
to hold a line north of the La Bass´e Canal,
though not the line on which he had first
come up against the Germans advancing
from Lille. That formed a right angle, stretch-
ing north-east from Givenchy to Herlies and
then north-west to Fauquissart; but on the
22nd his right was driven out of Violaines,
and the salient had to be evacuated by with-
drawal to a line in front of Givenchy, Fes-
tubert, and Neuve Chapelle. On the 27th
Neuve Chapelle was taken by the Germans.
A gallant attack by Indian troops, who had
been brought up from Marseilles to assist
Smith-Dorrien’s tried and depleted corps,
checked their advance on the 28th and drove
them back into Neuve Chapelle; and an-
other German attack was held before Fes-
tubert. Here Sir James Willcock’s Indian
Corps had a hard task for the next few days,
and a breach in our lines on 2 November was
only repaired by a desperate charge of the
Gurkhas. The winter of northern France
was to have more effect on their physique
than German warfare on their moral, and
after a final assault on Givenchy–one of the
virgin pivots of the war in the West–on 7
November, the battle in front of the 2nd
Corps subsided into an artillery duel. The
fighting in front of Pulteney’s 3rd Corps,
which carried on the line from Smith-Dorrien’s
left towards Ypres, was overshadowed by
the struggle round that city; but it had
enough to do to maintain the connexion. Its
hold on the left bank of the Lys north of Ar-
menti`res was strenuously disputed; on the
20th the Germans seized Le Gheir at the
south-east corner of Ploegstreet Wood, but
were immediately driven out. They took it
again on the 29th and some trenches in the
wood with no more permanent success, but
managed on the 30th to take and retain St.
Yves a little farther north.
    This was part of the Ypres fighting, and
downwards from the coast the surge of bat-
tle was also drawn into that maelstrom. The
British naval guns had destroyed the attrac-
tion of the dunes, and the Germans turned
towards the inland marshes along the Yser.
On the 23rd they crossed it and advanced to
Ramscapelle, but were driven back by the
Belgians, while fourteen unsuccessful attacks
were made the following night on Dixmude,
farther south. A more successful attempt
was made on the 24th and 25th on Schoor-
bakke, and the Germans advanced towards
the railway embankment near Pervyse. The
Belgians now bethought themselves of the
expedient their forbears had found effec-
tive in the days of William the Silent and
Alexander Farnese. The Yser was dammed
at Nieuport, the sluices were opened above
Dixmude, and slowly the river rose above its
banks and spread over the meadow-flats the
Germans were striving to cross. Men were
drowned and guns submerged, and presently
an impassable sheet of water protected the
Belgians on the railway from Nieuport to
Dixmude. The Germans, however, made
two more efforts to pierce the Belgian line
north and south of the inundation. On the
30th they seized Ramscapelle, but were ex-
pelled by the French on the 31st, and on
7 November a determined attack was made
on Dixmude, now defended by Admiral Ronarc’h
and his French marines. It succeeded after
three days’ fighting and a heavy bombard-
ment on the 10th. But Dixmude had, as
was natural in a country which had gener-
ally feared attack from France, been built
on the eastern bank of the Yser; and the
Germans were never able to debouch across
the river (see Map, p. 288).
    The capture of Dixmude coincided with
the last attack on Ypres. That famous bat-
tle was but an act in the drama played along
the Flanders front, and it may not have
been more decisive and was perhaps less
dramatic than the battle of Arras. But
the act extended throughout the play, and
gradually attracted more and more atten-
tion. It was a natural continuation of the
outflanking struggle, and there was no in-
terval between the British attempt to get
to Ghent and the German effort to reach
the Channel ports. The two ambitions here
clashed in front of Ypres. Rawlinson’s fail-
ure before Menin left him facing south-east,
while the expulsion of the Belgians and then
the French Territorials from the Houthulst
forest left Haig and the French contingents
facing north-east from Bixschoote to Zon-
nebeke; the apex of this Ypres salient was at
Becelaere. D’Urbal’s 8th Army from Bixschoote
north to Dixmude played a subsidiary part
similar to that of Pulteney’s 3rd Corps far-
ther south; but had it not been for the sup-
ports he was able to send to Haig’s assis-
tance, the Germans would assuredly have
broken through.
    The attack began from the apex to our
right at Zillebeke on the 21st, and its mo-
mentum showed that nothing more than stub-
born defence was possible. The 7th Divi-
sion bore the brunt of the attack, and Haig’s
1st Corps was precluded from a counter-
offensive by the need of detaching supports
to the south-east of Ypres, where long stretches
of line were only held by cavalry, and Pul-
teney was being pressed in front of Ploegstreet.
On the 23rd the Germans made an impetu-
ous onslaught on Langemarck, but the pres-
sure was relieved by a French advance on
the left and their taking over the line of our
1st Division, which enabled Haig to move
in support of the centre. Nevertheless the
Germans drove it from Becelaere and got
into Polygon Wood. At night on the 25th
they struck at Kruseik, between Gheluvelt
and Zandvoorde. There followed a suspi-
cious lull, and on the 29th the reinforced
Germans drove against the centre of the
1st Corps at Gheluvelt; an initial success
was reversed later on in the day, but on the
30th the attack shifted towards the right
at Zandvoorde, and the 1st Division was
forced back a mile to Zillebeke, while the
2nd conformed and the 2nd Cavalry Divi-
sion was driven from Hollebeke back to St.
Eloi. The Kaiser arrived that day and the
crisis on the morrow. Gheluvelt was the
point selected for the blow, and the 1st Di-
vision was thrust back into the woods in
front of Hooge, where headquarters were
heavily shelled. The flank of the 7th Divi-
sion was thus exposed, and the Royal Scots
Fusiliers were wiped out. Fortunately the
arrival of Moussy with part of the 9th French
Corps averted further disaster, though he
had to collect regimental cooks and other
unarmed men to help in holding the line.
Allenby’s cavalry farther south was in equally
desperate straits near Hollebeke, and he was
only saved by the transference of Kavanagh’s
7th brigade from the north of Hooge to his
assistance. North of the Ypres-Menin road
the German attack had not been seriously
pressed, and it was from this direction that
help came between 2 and 3 p.m., the hour
which Sir John French once described as
the most critical in the Ypres battle. The
main instrument was the 2nd Worcesters,
who fell upon the German advanced and
exposed right, and retook Gheluvelt by a
bayonet charge. This relieved the pressure
on the 7th Division, and by nightfall their
positions had been regained.
    But the battle was not yet over. On
1 November the Germans renewed their at-
tack on Allenby and captured Hollebeke and
Messines, and then in the night Wytschaete.
Luckily on that day the French 16th Corps
arrived and recovered Wytschaete. The Ger-
mans themselves now needed reinforcements
and time to recover, and for some days there
was little fighting except an unequal artillery
duel. On the 6th a German attack on Zille-
beke nearly succeeded, but was eventually
repulsed by a charge of the Household Cav-
alry. Another pause followed, but the Ger-
mans were bent on one more effort, and the
Prussian Guards were brought up from Ar-
ras to make it on the 11th. They charged on
the Menin road against Gheluvelt and drove
the 1st Division back into the woods be-
hind; but then they were held, and counter-
attacks recovered most of the lost positions.
The Germans by this time were tired of
Ypres, though they continued for four days
longer to struggle for Bixschoote, where Dubois
and his Zouaves put up a splendid and suc-
cessful defence, and a few spasmodic at-
tempts were made at Zillebeke and else-
where between 12 and 17 November. Then,
with the arrival of further French reinforce-
ments, the Germans desisted, and the line
of battle in Flanders sank into an uneasy
winter torpor. The second as well as the
first thoughts of the German command for
the campaign of 1914 in the West had come
to nought, or to what was nearly as bad, a
stalemate; and the East was calling with an
urgent and distracting voice to other fields
of battle.
    The lull which followed the battle of Ypres
was not entirely due to the winter season
or to the Flanders mud, for both sides had
other reasons for quiescence in the West.
The Germans had definitely failed in their
original plan of destroying the French armies
before the Russians could intervene, and
they were now threatened with the ruin of
their Austrian ally and the invasion of their
own Silesian borders. The steam-roller, which
had been moving to and fro across the Pol-
ish plains, seemed to have at last secured a
solid impetus in the forward direction which
might conceivably carry it to the Branden-
burg Gate by Christmas. W¨rttemburgers
and Bavarians might afford to keep their
eyes fixed on the Channel ports and their
troops in Belgium; but the affections of Prus-
sians were set on their homes in the East,
and Hindenburg was calling for reinforce-
ment more clamantly than the Western com-
manders. Defence was for many a month to
be the German strategy in the West, and, in
spite of the failure of their higher ambitions,
they had secured a good deal worth defend-
ing. Belgium, with its great mining and
other industrial resources, was theirs to re-
lieve the strain on German labour and raw
materials; from the Briey district in Lor-
raine they were drawing ores without which
they could not long have continued the war;
and the coalfields of northern France were
divided between their owners and the in-
vaders. The strain which the lack of these
resources put upon the industries and ship-
ping of Great Britain was incalculable, and
the inability of the Entente to defend the
French and Belgian frontiers or to expel the
invader prolonged the war for at least a cou-
ple of years.
    There were thus compensations for the
Germans if they could merely hold what
they had taken from other people; and the
Entente on its side had its reasons for quies-
cence. French reserves, which were too late
at Charleroi and Sedan, were in time at Ar-
ras and Ypres, but our own were still in the
making. A dreadful toll had been taken of
the heroes of Mons, and the original Expe-
ditionary Force had been sadly depleted. It
was a difficulty which time would remedy,
for Great Britain was teeming with recruits
in training from every quarter of the Em-
pire. The response to its need had been
almost overwhelming, and the Government
was hard pressed to embody the hundreds
of thousands of volunteers at home and to
provide transport for those overseas. At one
moment in September the War Office took
the extraordinary step of checking the rush
by refusing all recruits, however fit, who
were less than 5 ft. 6 in. in height; and to
arm and equip and train the accepted was
a task which required time and a vast read-
justment of industry. It was not assisted
by a business community which took as its
early motto ”business as usual,” and was
mainly alarmed by the fear of unemploy-
ment. But the traditions of peace were po-
tent in other than Government circles, and
history afforded no precedent for the crisis,
nor for the spirit in which it was met by
the youth of the Empire, who feared less
for their lives than most of their elders did
for their profits.
    The first source from which the regu-
lar forces could be recruited was the Terri-
torials. They had been formed before the
war on the idea that they were required
merely for home defence, and no one had
yet thought of the equivocation that home
defence included that of India, Egypt, Bel-
gium, and France, or offence in Mesopotamia
and the Dardanelles. There was no need
for the Government to rely on that quib-
ble, for the Territorials volunteered almost
in mass for foreign service, and the diffi-
culty was to impress Lord Kitchener with
the value of a force with which his absence
in the East had made him unfamiliar. As it
was, some of the best of the regiments, like
the London Scottish, put in an appearance
at Ypres, while numbers were sent to Egypt
and India to release for service in Europe
the regular forces there. With them came
native Indian regiments, Sikhs, Gurkhas,
and Bhopals, whose voluntary service pro-
vided the most touching testimonial to its
character that the British Empire has ever
received; for they did not govern themselves,
and it is no small thing to govern others
in such a way as to provoke loyalty unto
death. No less moving was the response
from Dominions which were thought by the
ill-informed to be straining at the leash of
Imperial domination. The Canadians, hav-
ing the shortest route, were the first to come,
and on 16 October the advance guard dis-
embarked at Liverpool. They were followed
by scores and then hundreds of thousands
from Australia and New Zealand, and fi-
nally from South Africa, where for the mo-
ment the task of suppressing rebellion and
dealing with German South-West Africa kept
them at more immediate duties nearer home.
They were all volunteers; for although Canada
adopted conscription in the last year of the
war, Australia rejected the proposal twice,
and it was never made in South Africa; and
the splendid colonial troops which covered
themselves with glory in the war contained
no conscripts among their numbers.
    During the winter of 1914-15 Great Britain
was a vast camp of men from all quarters of
the Empire training for that offensive in the
spring on which men’s hopes were set. A
saying attributed to Lord Kitchener passed
from mouth to mouth, to the effect that
he did not know when the war would end,
but that it would begin in May. Hitherto
our forces engaged had been merely an ad-
vance guard of our manpower, and it was
a common anticipation that the Allied of-
fensive would bring the war to a success-
ful conclusion by the end of 1915. With
such hopes President Poincar´ cheered the
French troops in their trenches at Christ-
mas, and in January a semi-official commu-
niqu´ announced that the French had bro-
ken the German offensive and could break
the German defensive whenever they chose.
This pleasing illusion was maintained, not
so much by a censorship of the truth as by
incapacity on the part of those in authority
to discern it, and by a natural tendency of
the wish to be father of the thought. Ger-
man communiqu´s afforded some means of
correction, but they were universally disbe-
lieved or discounted as containing an amount
of falsehood of which no ally could be guilty,
although, until the last few months of the
war, they were rather less misleading than
our own. Nor was it only official news that
was delusive. ”The Times,” for instance,
in January put the total German ”losses”
down to date at two million and a quar-
ter; and an expert historian debited Ger-
many with a ”dead loss, perhaps, of lit-
tle less than three million by the begin-
ning of April,” whereas the casualties barely
reached half that figure, and of the casu-
alties a vast percentage consisted of slight
wounds which did not prevent a speedy re-
turn to the fighting-line. Medical science
prolonged the war by reducing disease and
restoring the sick and wounded; and the
military statistician went as far astray in his
prophecies of the exhaustion of Germany’s
man-power as the economist in his predic-
tions of its bankruptcy and starvation by
    Nevertheless the conviction that, whether
we or the Germans attacked, they had dou-
ble our casualties, comforted the public dur-
ing the war of trenches; not merely were we
holding our own while our reserves in train-
ing were mounting to millions, but all the
time we were thought to be wearing down
the enemy’s strength, and his prudent econ-
omy in the use of men and munitions was
taken as proof of his poverty in resources.
His real work in those winter months was
done behind the lines in factory and in bar-
racks, and its value was tested and revealed
in the coming campaign, which found the
front in the West almost precisely where it
was left to the autumn. Here and there a
village or a line of trenches had been taken,
but by different sides, and the balance was
hardly worth counting. A sand-dune was
captured near Nieuport, a trench in front
of St. Eloi, and ten days’ fighting round
La Bass´e, which severely tried the Indian
troops, nearly led to the loss of Givenchy,
but quite to the gain of a brickfield. Early
in December the French took the chˆteau of
Vermelles and improved their positions at
Lihons and Quesnoy, but suffered in Jan-
uary a reverse north of Vailly. In Cham-
pagne they captured Perthes in February
and made some progress in the Argonne;
in the Woevre they nibbled at both sides
of the St. Mihiel wedge, while in Alsace
they acquired Steinbach but lost the Hart-
mannsweilerkopf. But against this balance
of gain must be set a more subtle but com-
prehensive loss. The contest was not lim-
ited to the occasional bursts of fighting or
to the steady endurance required for hold-
ing the trenches amid the discomfort of mud
and water, bombs and shell-fire. It also
took the form of incessant competition in
the perfection of surface and underground
defences. The Germans excelled in this art;
but even if they had not, the silent develop-
ment of the strength of defence would have
told in the defenders’ favour when the time
came for attack; and it was an advantage
which told all along the line and more than
atoned for the local loss of a trench or posi-
tion. The truth was that during a seeming
stalemate the Germans made ample provi-
sion for holding their lines in the West while
they prepared and dealt a staggering blow
at their formidable foe in the East.
    A week before the Prussian Guard made
its final charge at Ypres, Belgians reported
the moving of masses of German troops away
to the East. We have seen that the need was
urgent, for Cossacks were already across the
Silesian frontier, and Hindenburg required
all the help he could get for his counter-
offensive. He was planning an attack from
Thorn up the Vistula primarily to strike the
right flank of the Russian advance through
Poland on Silesia and Cracow, and secondly
to menace Warsaw. The command was en-
trusted to Mackensen, while Ruszky with-
stood the Germans with his right near Plock
on the Vistula, his centre behind the Bzura,
and his left stretching out towards Lodz.
The Germans attacked all along the line
on 18 November, but Ruszky’s left seemed
to afford the easiest prey; it had no natu-
ral line of defence, and Hindenburg’s devas-
tation during his retreat in October made
the arrival of reinforcements from Ivanov
farther south unlikely. Nevertheless Mack-
ensen’s most impetuous drive was against
Ruszky’s centre across the causeway at Pi-
ontek; it promised a dramatic success, and
nearly ended in resounding disaster. The
Russian centre was broken and the left thrust
back upon Lodz, where it was attacked on
three sides and seemed doomed to destruc-
tion. But the wedge was not sufficiently
wide; it merely created a pocket in the Rus-
sian line. The sides held fast and Ruszky
began to close the mouth. For three days,
24-26 November, the Germans fought des-
perately to get out, and at length the rem-
nant succeeded, owing mainly to the late-
ness of reinforcements sent by Rennenkampf
at Ruszky’s request. Troops, however, were
rapidly being rushed up to Mackensen’s help,
and on 6 December the Russian left with-
drew from Lodz, the industrial capital of
Poland with half a million inhabitants. The
advantage of the retirement was to straighten
the Russian line in face of the determined
effort which Hindenburg was bent on mak-
ing to secure Warsaw as a Christmas present
for the Kaiser (see Map, p. 146).
   The line selected for defence ran almost
due north to south from the Vistula up the
Bzura and its tributary the Rawka to Rawa
and thence across the Pilitza to Opocznow.
The territory abandoned was well worth the
security gained on this line, and for three
weeks the Germans stormed against it in
vain. A flank attack from the north of the
Vistula was driven back by the Russians at
Mlawa, and no better success attended the
German frontal onslaughts at Sochaczew,
where the main road to Warsaw crosses the
Bzura, and at Bolimow, where another crosses
the Rawka. The Germans spent their Christ-
mas in the trenches instead of in the Pol-
ish capital, thirty-five miles away. Some-
what better fortune was experienced by the
Hungarian offensive against the Russians in
Galicia, which was part of Hindenburg’s plan.
Dmitrieff was almost in the suburbs of Cra-
cow at the beginning of December, but his
left was then threatened by the Hungarian
seizure of the Dukla pass, and he had to
retreat to the line of the Dunajec and the
Nida with his flank drawn back to Krosno
and Jaslo. Presently the Hungarians threat-
ened also the Lupkow and Uszok passes far-
ther east; but reinforcements arrived, Brus-
silov closed the passes, and Dmitrieff’s left
swung forward again. It did not, however,
advance beyond the Biala, and the Russians
spent their Christmas as far from Cracow as
the Germans did theirs from Warsaw.
    Winter, however, brought less respite from
war on the frozen plains of Poland than on
the sodden soil of Flanders. The first and
second attacks upon Warsaw were followed
by a third in January; there was a winter
battle by the Masurian lakes in February,
and a fierce struggle along the Niemen in
March; and the Russian offensive across the
Carpathians was only stopped by the Ger-
man spring campaign. The Russians, in-
deed, were doomed to bear the brunt of the
war in 1915, at first with success and af-
terwards in adversity; for the Germans had
reversed the strategy with which they had
begun the war. Then they had relied on
the defensive in the East while they gath-
ered up all their strength for the crushing of
France. That blow having failed, they were
now preparing to drive Russia out of the
war, while they trusted to their line in the
West to hold against any efforts to break it.
The change of plan was probably a mistake,
though it brought such success at the mo-
ment that volatile critics in England were
persuaded that the original war on the West
had been merely a blind for real designs in
the East. At any rate, in the West we had
cause to be thankful that the German at-
tacks were but local, and that the serious
offensive against Verdun did not come until
1916, when we were prepared to counter it
on the Somme.
    Meanwhile there was some excuse for
the German choice. There was safety enough
for the moment in France and Flanders, and
events justified Germany’s confidence that
no Entente attack in 1915 could seriously
disturb the German lines. No such grounds
for complacence existed on her Eastern fron-
tiers. East Prussia was not yet free, and
graver danger threatened the Hungarian ally
on which the Prussian relied only less than
he did on himself. Galicia was in Russian
hands, and Russian man-power was thought
to be inexhaustible. The menace on both
the Carpathian and the Prussian flanks could
only be properly met by destroying the cen-
tral position in Poland, and persistence in
the attacks on Warsaw was essential to Ger-
man strategy in the East. The frontal at-
tack at the end of January which failed for
the third time was followed by a flanking at-
tack on the Niemen which also failed, and
then by a drive on the southern flank in
Galicia which turned the whole Russian front
of 900 miles, led to a wholesale retreat, and
precipitated the greatest set-back the Allies
suffered in the war. Germany failed against
the democracies of the West, she succeeded
against a government more autocratic than
her own.
    During January the Russian centre in
front of Warsaw had been weakened for the
sake of movements against the enemy’s ex-
treme flanks, which were undertaken in re-
sponse to requests from the Western Powers
in order to divert German reinforcements
from France and Flanders. There was a
fresh advance towards the Masurian lakes in
East Prussia, and far to the south Alexeiev
captured a Carpathian pass at Kirlibaba.
Mackensen took advantage of this disper-
sion to organize a strenuous attack on the
Russian lines near the confluence of the Bzura
and the Rawka. It began on the night of 1
February, and the Russians were on the 2nd
and 3rd pressed back from their position on
the heights at Borzymow and Gumin. But
two railways from Warsaw ran north and
south of the threatened front, and reinforce-
ments brought up along them stopped the
German advance. It would in any case have
been held before the still stronger lines at
Blonie which were the real defences of War-
saw on the west, and Hindenburg now gave
up the frontal attack as hopeless. It was
only, however, to turn to the northern flank
and repeat his attempt of October to pierce
the great chain of fortresses which defended
Poland along the line of the Niemen and the
Narew from Kovno to Novo Georgievsk.
    His movement was further provoked by
the Russian raid which had already advanced
once more across the border to close on
Tilsit, Insterburg, and Angerburg and well
to the west of Lyck. Hindenburg was ever
fertile in surprises on this familiar ground,
and on 7 February his left, commanded by
Eichhorn, drove the Russians back along
the railway to Kovno, and within a week
had occupied Mariampol. His right was
also well across the frontier, marching on
Grodno and Ossowiec. Superior forces and
railway communications accounted for his
success, and one Russian corps met with
a disaster. But conditions on the Russian
side of the frontier equalized matters. The
Germans occupied Suwalki and Augustowo,
and even crossed the Niemen at Drusskeniki
between Olita and Grodno, while farther
north they seized Tauroggen. But they were
unable to cut the Kovno-Warsaw railway
which ran but ten miles east of the Niemen,
and Ossowiec farther south successfully stood
a siege. By the middle of March Hinden-
burg had withdrawn his left and centre to
cover the Prussian frontier. He had suffered
considerably, but his right got off even less
    It was here that his main strategic ob-
jective lay. The thrust against the Niemen
had been simply designed to drive the Rus-
sians out of Prussia and protect the left of
the German offensive to the south on the
Narew and Warsaw. Since the German fail-
ure in December a Russian army had been
pushing slowly down the right bank of the
Vistula in front of Plock. This movement
was checked in February, and the Germans
hoped by an advance from Mlawa to get
across the Narew south of Pultusk. The
centre of the Russian defence was at Pras-
nysz where eight roads meet, but the de-
fending force was weak, and on 24 February
the Germans captured the town. But the
extreme Russian left made a heroic stand on
the ridge between Prasnysz and Ciechanow
against Germans in front and on both sides
of them. Their resistance produced a sit-
uation somewhat resembling that at Lodz,
for a rapid concentration of Russian rein-
forcements swept round to the help of the
flank at Ciechanow, while others attacked
the German left at Krasnosielce. The Ger-
mans encircling Ciechanow found themselves
encircled at Prasnysz, and as at Lodz they
had to fight desperately for three days to
escape. They were assisted by the rudimen-
tary equipment of the Russian forces; rifles
and ammunition were scarce, bayonets and
hand-grenades were none too plentiful, and
some of the privates are even said to have
fought with pitchforks. By such hand-to-
hand and bloody warfare the Germans were
driven out of Prasnysz back towards Stegna
and Chorzele and their flank attack on War-
saw foiled. Ruszky’s strategy and Russian
heroism had gained one of the most singular
victories in the war.
    At the other end of the Russian front,
along the Carpathians, politics were begin-
ning to exert a powerful influence upon strat-
egy. South-Eastern Europe was reacting to
the Serbian successes in December, and Ru-
mania, like Italy, and with similar Latin
feelings, was negotiating with the Entente
about terms of intervention. On 27 January
a loan of five million pounds was arranged
by Great Britain, and while we provided
financial inducements Russia dispatched a
sympathetic force to overrun the Bukov-
ina, a country kindred to Rumania which
she might acquire by co-operation. There
would be little risk in joining the war if Rus-
sian armies could debouch from the Carpathi-
ans; and the intervention of Rumania would
link up the Serbians with the Russians and
envelop unfortunate Hungary on three sides.
But the spring was not yet, and Rumania
would wait and see. Her king was a Ho-
henzollern, and his people were divided in
their sympathies. If there were Rumanes
under Magyar rule across the Transylvanian
Alps, there were also Rumanes under Rus-
sian rule across the river Pruth; and the
filching of Bessarabia by Russia in 1878 still
rankled in the Rumanian mind. Bratianu,
the Prime Minister, was a cautious states-
man, quite capable of seeing that the oc-
cupation of the Bukovina by the Russians
was a political demonstration rather than
a proof of military capacity to burst the
Carpathian barrier. But another argument
was thus adduced to show the Prussians
the need of victory in the East unless they
wished the defence of their two existing fronts
to be complicated by another in the south.
Hungary was their chief economic, political,
and military bastion outside their own do-
minions, and the subtle bond between Mag-
yar and Prussian notions of government,
which gave them a common interest in the
war, was now drawn closer by the appoint-
ment of Tisza’s henchman, Count Burian,
as Foreign Secretary to the Hapsburg Em-
pire. For Tisza, the Hungarian Premier,
was in all but nationality a Prussian Junker,
and his domination depended as much upon
a Teutonic victory over the Slavs as a Teu-
tonic victory did upon the retention of the
Hungarian granary and a bulwark in the
    The Carpathians were therefore the key
to the future of the war and history of south-
eastern Europe. The Russians had in the
autumn established a solid control of the
Galician outlets from the mountain passes,
but had made no serious attempt to achieve
the far more difficult task of securing com-
mand of the foothills south of the range,
which alone would enable them to conquer
the plains of Hungary. For a mountain pass
is like a river bridge-head; one may often
possess it without being able to debouch.
The Austrians experienced that difficulty in
their winter offensive against the Russian
flank in Galicia. They made little progress
against Brussilov at the Dukla and Lupkow
passes, but farther east they seized most
of the mountain routes, and Alexeiev was
pressed back in Bukovina. Their centre un-
der Linsingen was, however, held up by the
Russians at Hill 992 near Kosziowa, and all
efforts to dislodge the defenders failed. This
defence saved Galicia for the time and pre-
vented the relief of Przemysl, which oth-
erwise would have been certain. For the
Austrian right succeeded late in February
in recovering Czernowitz, Kolomea, and on
3 March, Stanislau. Reinforcements, how-
ever, now reached the Russians; Stanislau
was recaptured, the Austrians lost much
of what they had gained, and on the 22nd
Przemysl weakly surrendered. Its fame as
a fortress had been enhanced by its five
months’ siege since October, but it did not
redound to the credit of its defenders. They
were superior in numbers to the besiegers,
were amply provisioned, and well supplied
with heavy artillery and all the munitions
of war. Every sort of blunder seems to have
been committed by the commander, who
apparently regarded the siege as a relief from
more arduous work in the field, and capit-
ulated because the repulse of the rescuing
expedition foreboded an increase of incon-
    The surrender liberated the besieging force
for operations elsewhere, and the Russians
began a serious effort to surmount the Carpathian
rampart. They got well to the south of
the Dukla, made substantial progress in the
centre through the Rostoki pass, and by the
middle of April held the crests for a con-
tinuous seventy miles; cavalry penetrated
much farther down the slopes, and the Aus-
trians prepared to evacuate the Ungvar val-
ley. Reciprocal raids occurred elsewhere on
the Eastern front: the Russians seized and
burnt Memel, and the Germans retaliated
by the bombardment of Libau. Despite warn-
ings like that of ”The Times” Petrograd
correspondent on 13 April to the effect that
the Germans had not only sent enormous
reinforcements to the Carpathians, but had
taken charge of the operations, there was
general confidence in the West in a com-
ing triumphant Russian offensive. Dmitri-
eff himself had no suspicion of what was
in store until a few days before the storm
broke; and a Panslav society in Petrograd
passed and published abroad a resolution
that in view of the victorious progress of
the Russian armies across the Carpathians,
the contemplated intervention of Italy in
the war was belated and undesirable.
    The Russian Government cannot have
been ignorant of the weakness of Russian
armies, not in man-power, still less in skill
or courage, but in artillery and equipment;
but it had no conception of the material and
mechanical force which Germany was pre-
pared to bring to the urgent task of reliev-
ing the pressure on her ally. Nor was it for
nothing that Turkey had been cajoled and
bribed into making war. Turkish general-
ship and organization were negligible quan-
tities, but Germany could supply those de-
fects, and Turkish bravery and man-power
could be used as a valuable means of dis-
tracting Russia’s attention and diverting forces
from the Polish and Galician fronts. This
had been the main purpose of the campaign
in the Caucasus which Turkey waged in the
winter. They began by seizing Tabriz in
the province of Azerbaijan, which though
nominally Persian had been for some time
occupied partly by Russian and partly by
Turkish troops; but the Russians were first
across the Russo-Turkish frontier and cap-
tured Bayazid, Khorasan, and Kuprikeui.
These advance-guards were, however, pushed
back by the Turks, whose leader and evil ge-
nius, the half-Polish and German-educated
adventurer, Enver, had conceived an ambi-
tious design of encircling the Russian armies
between Sarikamysh and Ardahan. In De-
cember the Turks succeeded in making their
arduous way across the snow-clad moun-
tains, and on 1 January they were in Ar-
dahan. But the task would have tried the
German Army itself in summer, and Enver
had attempted more than he could achieve.
His army corps were successively isolated
and defeated in a series of engagements col-
lectively known as the battle of Sarikamysh,
and driven back across the frontier with
heavy losses. Tabriz was reoccupied by the
Russians, though they were not able to fol-
low up their victory by the capture of Erzerum
(see Map, p. 182).
    The other diversion, which the Turks
were used to create against the Entente,
was in Egypt. British rule, in spite of the
vast benefits it conferred, was not univer-
sally acceptable to the Egyptian people and
still less to Egyptian officials; and chief among
those who resented their restriction to the
straight and narrow path of honest adminis-
tration was the Khedive Abbas II. He threw
in his lot with the Turks, and was deposed
in his absence, while the shadowy Turkish
suzerainty over Egypt was converted into
a substantial British protectorate. Cyprus,
which had been in British occupation since
1878, was annexed at the same time to the
British Crown. The Turks had been de-
luded by the Germans with hopes of recov-
ering their ancient control of Egypt, and
they at once began their feeble efforts to
realize their ambitions. In November an ex-
pedition started from Palestine to cut the
Suez Canal, a main artery of the British
Empire, and stir the embers of Moslem fa-
naticism in Egypt. It disappeared in the
sands of the intervening desert. Another,
better prepared with German assistance, reached
the east bank of the Canal at various points
on 2 February, but miserably failed to effect
a crossing; its only success was its escape,
which was partly explained by a sandstorm,
and Egypt had rest until the winter brought
the campaigning season round again (see
Map, p. 352).
    The British retort to Egypt and the Cau-
casus lay in the Persian Gulf and the Dar-
danelles. The Persian Gulf had long been
a scene of British trade and political enter-
prise to which the inertia of its rulers ren-
dered Persia susceptible; and its position
as a possible Russian outlet to the sea on
the flank of our communications with In-
dia had produced some rivalry for Persian
favours. The advent of a third comer in the
shape of the Germans, with their plans for
a Germanized Turkish Empire controlling
the Berlin-Baghdad route, changed the ri-
valry into co-operation; and an attack on
the Turks at the head of the Persian Gulf
was an obvious reply to the Turkish cam-
paign in the Caucasus. It afforded an easy
means of employing the native Indian army
in the common cause without the long sea
journey to France or the risks inflicted by
northern winters upon sub-tropical races.
During the first half of November detach-
ments of the Indian army sailed up the Shat-
el-Arab, the joint estuary of the Tigris and
the Euphrates, defeated the Turks at Sahil
on the 17th, occupied Basra on the 22nd,
and cut off Kurna, which surrendered on 9
December. The local Turks were weak in
numbers and equipment, and distance re-
moved them from the stimulus of Enver’s
energy and German organization. It was
not until April 1915 that an effective reac-
tion to the British advance was attempted.
Then the Turks and Arabs concerted a move-
ment against the whole line stretching round
from Ahwaz within the Persian frontier to
Shaiba south-west of Basra. The real at-
tack was on Shaiba, and the battle lasted
from 12 to 15 April. The Turks were com-
pletely defeated, with some 6000 casualties;
but the most important effect was to con-
vert the Arabs into our allies. The advan-
tage was pressed in June, and on the 3rd
Amara was captured seventy-five miles to
the north of Kurna. The way was open for
an advance on Baghdad as soon as autumn
made exertion possible in that torrid zone
(see Map, p. 177).
    Sir John Nixon’s success in the Mesopotamian
delta was, however, but a pin-prick in a dis-
tant part compared with the blow that was
aimed at the heart of the Turkish Empire in
the Dardanelles; and the merits of that fa-
mous but ill- starred enterprise, and of the
strategy which inspired it, have been one of
the most debated questions of the war. Sol-
diers and civilians, writers and talkers, and
even thinkers were divided into two camps,
Westerners and Easterners, those who be-
lieved that the war could only be won by
frontal attack in the West, and those who
discerned a way round to victory in the
Near or the Farther East. Volumes might
be, and no doubt will be, written on this
controversy, and its implications have infi-
nite variety. It involved questions of policy
as well as strategy, and therefore raised the
delicate problem of the relations between
civil and military authority. The soldier
only deals with armies, and in the field his
voice is properly supreme; but policy may
be as far above strategy as strategy is above
tactics; and policy may dictate a strategy
which would not commend itself on mili-
tary principles. The soldier has nothing to
do with the policy, but policy and diplo-
macy may or may not bring fresh allies into
the war and fresh armies into the field; and
a strategy which may be unsound on purely
military grounds may be completely justi-
fied by political reasons. The diversion of
a force from the main field of operations
where it is needed to a more distant objec-
tive, seems suicidal to the general in com-
mand; but if, without provoking disaster on
the field it has left, it has the effect of turn-
ing the enemy’s flank, detaching his actual
or deterring his potential allies, and induc-
ing neutrals to intervene, it may win a war
although it postpones or risks the success
of a campaign.
    On the other hand, it was urged that the
fundamental principle of strategy is to con-
centrate all available forces where the en-
emy has concentrated his, beat him there,
and thus win a victory which will carry with
it the desired results in all the subsidiary
spheres. Germany once beaten in the West,
it was argued, there would be no need to
trouble about the Balkans or the amateur
strategy which looked to Laibach or Aleppo
as the vital spot in the situation. This prin-
ciple was erected into a dogma, and dogma
is a dangerous impediment to the art of
war. War is an art, and therefore consists
in the adaptation of varying means to con-
ditions which are not constant. Strategy
is not, apart from its mechanical adjuncts,
a science in which properties are fixed, ax-
ioms can be assumed, and the results of ex-
periments foretold; the combination of two
armies and a commander-in-chief does not
produce the same uniform result as the com-
bination of two parts of hydrogen and one
of oxygen; and formulae are as irrational
in war as in any other human art. Dog-
mas deduced from the experience of some
wars are inapplicable to others; and the sci-
ence of wars between France and Germany
becomes mere imposture when it seeks to
dictate dogma to wars in which the British
Empire is involved. The particular dogma
about concentration had three defects: it
left the initiative to the enemy, thus surren-
dering the advantage, secured by the com-
mand of the sea, of being able to strike in
other directions; it assumed that the en-
emy could be beaten on that front with-
out disturbance on his flanks or in his rear;
and it abandoned the Near and the Farther
East to any schemes on which the Germans
might choose to employ their own or their
allies’ subsidiary forces.
    No one, on the other hand, imagined
that the Western front could be denuded
of the armies required to maintain it. The
question was really how to use the consid-
erable margin of force between what was
essential for defence and what was needed
for a successful offensive. Should it be em-
ployed for frontal attack in the West, or
flank attack in the East? Caution coun-
selled one course, adventure suggested the
other. Surplus force intended for an offen-
sive on the West would be available, if need
arose, for defence; it would not, if it were a
thousand miles away, and our needs in the
spring of 1918 seemed to supply an effec-
tive answer to arguments drawn from our
later successes in the Balkans and in Syria.
The antithesis is, however, largely a false
one, due to the exigencies of popular debate
and the habit of treating war as an abstract
science independent of changing but actual
conditions. No one denies that a diversion
of our main effort from France to Laibach
in the winter of 1917 would have been fa-
tal to us in the spring of 1918, but it is not
clear that the thousands of troops we lost
at Loos and the French in Champagne in
the autumn of 1915 might not better have
been employed in saving Serbia or forcing
the Dardanelles.
    The Dardanelles
    There was much to be said for the pol-
icy, and even the strategy, which led to the
Dardanelles expedition. Flanks had disap-
peared on the Western front; the lines ex-
tended from the Alps to the sea, and it
was natural that, commanding the sea, we
should seek to turn them farther afield. We
had asked Russia to relieve the pressure on
our Western front by using her military force
in Prussia and Galicia; and it was reason-
able enough for Russia to ask us to recip-
rocate and relieve the Turkish pressure on
her flank in the Caucasus by a naval at-
tack on Turkey. The German Fleet lay snug
in port beyond the reach of naval power:
could not our supremacy on the sea find an
offensive function somewhere else? There
was, moreover, our own position in Egypt
to be defended; no one proposed evacua-
tion, and the best defence of Egypt was a
blow at the Dardanelles in the direction of
Turkey’s capital. It was, in fact, no more a
dissipation of forces to send troops to force
the Dardanelles than to send them to hold
the Suez Canal, and from the point of view
of policy, which was even more important,
the effect of the expedition might be a con-
centration of power or Powers against the
Central Empires. Serbia had successfully
held the gate of the Balkans against Aus-
tria: Rumania’s intervention would extend
the lines of possible attack, Greece inclined
in the same direction, and the forcing of the
Dardanelles would assuredly have deterred
Bulgaria from hostile intervention, and al-
most certainly have decided her to join a
common Balkan move against the Teutons
and the Turks. To the war on the East-
ern and Western fronts, which was already
a German nightmare, would be added one
on an almost undefended Southern frontier.
Austria could not long resist if Italy also in-
tervened, and the collapse of the Hapsburg
Empire would open up an advance against
Germany from the south which would cir-
cumvent the Rhine and the Oder and turn
the gigantic bastion she had constructed in
France and Belgium into a house of cards.
Well might the Dardanelles expedition be
hailed in the press as a stroke of strategical
genius and associated with Mr. Churchill’s
imagination. Easy also is it to understand
the concentrated fear and force which the
Germans put into Mackensen’s coming drive
in Galicia.
    There is, indeed, less material for cen-
sure in the policy of the Dardanelles expe-
dition than in the Allies’ decision to cou-
ple with it a military offensive on the West-
ern front and to divorce the naval and mili-
tary efforts in the Aegean. Divided counsels
produced divided efforts. Mr. Churchill,
backed up, we are led to infer, by Mr. Lloyd
George, secured his naval expedition; but
he failed, until it was too late, to secure
its military complement because the troops
were earmarked for costly and premature
attacks on the German lines in France. De-
prived of this assistance, the naval expedi-
tion seems to have relied on the hope of
Greek co- operation to the extent of two
army corps, which Venizelos was only pre-
vented from dispatching by the vigour of
the Prussian Queen of Greece and by the
veto of the King. Possibly there was precip-
itation, for the naval attack did not await
the arrival of the military forces, which were
before long on the way, extorted, it would
seem, by impetuous pressure from a reluc-
tant and unconvinced authority.
   For this purely naval attack on the de-
fences of the Dardanelles there is little to
be said; for no argument of advantage from
success can justify an attempt which is fore-
doomed to failure, and history demonstrated
beyond a doubt the strength of modern forts
against the modern battleship. Nor was it
in the Dardanelles a test between an ordi-
nary sea attack and a normal land defence.
The strength of the position attacked was
trebled by the forts on both sides of the
channel and by its twist at the Narrows,
which enabled the land batteries to con-
centrate fire on the attacking fleet from in
front as well as on both flanks. There was
no room to manoeuvre in a channel less
than a mile in width, and even when the
mine-fields had been swept, the Turks could
send fresh mines down the constant stream,
and discharge torpedoes from hidden tubes
along both shores. Against such formidable
defences even the guns of the Queen Eliza-
beth were an inadequate attack, and forts
that were said to be silenced repeatedly re-
newed their bombardment.
    The first stage of the attack began on
19 February; it consisted in demolishing by
concentric fire the outpost fortifications at
Kum Kale and Cape Helles. This proved
comparatively simple, and after a week of
bad weather the mine-sweepers were able
to clear the channel for four miles. It was
a different matter when the real defences in
the Narrows were attacked early in March.
The chief bombardment was from outside
in the Gulf of Saros, where it was hoped
that the guns of the Queen Elizabeth and
her consorts would by indirect fire dispose
of Chanak and the other forts. None of
them were, however, silenced with the pos-
sible exception of Dardanos, and Turkish
howitzers, cunningly concealed in the scrub
along the shore, provided an unpleasant sur-
rise by hitting the Queen Elizabeth. Nev-
ertheless, it was thought that enough had
been effected to justify an attempt to force
the Narrows on the 18th. Three succes-
sive squadrons of British and French ships
were sent up the Straits, but the Turks had
only waited till the channel was full of ves-
sels to release their floating mines and land-
torpedoes. First the French Bouvet, then
the Irresistible, and thirdly the Ocean were
struck by mines and sunk, the Bouvet with
most of her crew. Three battleships and
2000 men had been lost in an attack which
did not even reach the entrance to the Nar-
rows; and for six weeks occasional bom-
bardments hardly concealed the fact that
the frustrated naval attack was awaiting the
co-operation of the army to give it some
chance of success.
    More progress was happily made dur-
ing the winter in still more distant spheres,
although the conquest of German colonies
was regarded by the pure strategist as be-
longing to the illegitimate and divergent rather
than to the legitimate and subsidiary type
of military operation. Policy may, how-
ever, outweigh strategy, and the circum-
stance that the victor only retains as the
price of peace his conquests, or part of them,
made in war, extenuates if it does not jus-
tify divergent operations. They were diver-
gent enterprises which gave us India, Canada,
and the Cape of Good Hope; and assuredly
the defeat of Germany on the Western front
would not alone have brought German colonies
under the sceptre of a League of Nations.
Even from the point of view of a strategy
limited to Central Europe these operations
had their value; for they enlisted against the
common foe forces which would certainly
not have been employed had we merely stood
on the defensive in the overseas Dominions,
and when their work was done in distant
parts these forces gravitated towards the
centre with a weight which would have grown
more crushing had resistance been prolonged.
Only surrender by the enemy stayed Al-
lenby’s and Marshall’s Oriental hosts in Asia
and anticipated the arrival on the Western
front of further aid from Africa. A blow
at the heart may be the normal strategy,
but it is not the only nor always the best
means of dealing with an antagonist clad in
a breastplate of steel.
    The scene of the least successful of these
colonial wars was still East Africa. The re-
verse of Tanga in November was followed
by another at Jassin on 19 January, and at
the end of the winter the Germans could
claim that their territory was clear of our
troops while several German detachments
were in ours; but we had seized the island
of Mafia off the mouth of the Rufigi and
declared a blockade of the German East
African coast. On the other side of the con-
tinent we made steady progress in reducing
the vast territory of the Cameroons; but the
success of the season was Botha’s conquest
of German South-West Africa. The last
remnants of the rebellion under Maritz and
Kemp were stamped out at Upington on 3
February, and on 14 January Swakopmund
was captured from the sea. Botha selected
that as his base, while Smuts directed three
columns farther south. The first advanced
on the capital Windhoek from Luderitz Bay,
the second from Warmbad near the Orange
River, and the third from Kimberley. The
second, under Van Deventer, had the heav-
iest work, but the fighting was not as a
rule severe. The campaign was a triumph
of forethought, strategy, and organization
which left the Germans no choice but a se-
ries of retirements, culminating in the sur-
render of Windhoek on 12 May, and the ca-
pitulation of the entire remaining German
forces at Grootfontein on 9 July.
    On the sea the Germans had abandoned
hope of victory. The balance of power in
our favour, which had been insufficient to
relieve Jellicoe of considerable anxiety, be-
gan to increase rapidly with the completion
of the Queen Elizabeth class in April; and
Germany turned her anticipatory gaze to-
wards her submarines. Just as Napoleon’s
efforts by means of the Berlin and Milan de-
crees to ruin us by war on commerce came
after the final collapse of his naval ambi-
tions at Trafalgar, so Germany’s subma-
rine campaign followed upon her recogni-
tion of the hopelessness of her naval situa-
tion. On 18 February she proclaimed the
waters round the British Isles a war zone
in which enemy merchantmen would, and
neutrals might, be sunk by submarines ir-
respective of the risks to non-combatants
and neutrals. This was a flagrant violation
of the rules of international law which safe-
guarded the shipping of neutrals, and only
sanctioned the condemnation of contraband
goods in prize courts, and the destruction of
enemy vessels when they could not be taken
into port and provision had been made for
the safety of their crews and passengers.
The German submarines were not in a po-
sition to guarantee any of these conditions;
and trading on the legal maximum that no
one can be required to do what is impos-
sible, the Germans claimed immunity from
these obligations.
    To this the British Government replied
on 1 March with a blockade which was more
humane and more effective, but none the
less involved an autocratic extension of bel-
ligerent rights. All oversea trade with Ger-
many was to be as far as possible inter-
cepted; goods, whether contraband or not,
were at least to be detained; and the right of
search was to be rendered more secure by
being exercised in British ports, to which
neutral ships were brought, instead of on
the high seas amid the danger of submarine
attack. These measures inflicted no loss of
life and no loss of property that was not
contraband. But they made havoc with the
ideas that neutrals were entitled to trade
with both belligerents, and that neither bel-
ligerent could intercept commerce which did
not directly serve for military purposes. It
was not, for instance, a breach of neutrality
to sell munitions to a belligerent, though
belligerents were entitled to seize them if
they could; and we ourselves bought vast
quantities from the United States. America
was, however, deeply attached to that ”free-
dom of the seas” which enabled neutrals to
sell, without interference, goods which were
not contraband, to either belligerent; and
our extension of contraband to cover food
supplies gave deep offence. The difficulty
arose not only from the inevitable tendency
of law to disappear amid the clash of arms,
but from the modern absorption of all en-
ergies, civilian as well as military, in the
warlike operations of the State. The food
of civilians making munitions became a vi-
tal element in the conduct of war, and the
distinction between civil and military pur-
poses was lost in the fusion of all activities
for a common end.
    Disquieting as was the course of mili-
tary operations during the spring, the diplo-
matic situation caused even more anxiety;
and public opinion was as impervious to
the one as to the other. American protests
against our action on the seas were received
with ill-concealed resentment, popular news-
papers adjured the Government to ”stand
no nonsense from the United States,” Pres-
ident Wilson’s name was hissed by British
audiences, and the man in the street seemed
bent on estranging the neutral on whose
assistance we were in the end to rely for
victory in the war. It needed all the re-
sources of an unpopular wisdom and diplo-
macy to steer between the Scylla of alienat-
ing friends by our blockade and the Charyb-
dis of being, in Mr. Asquith’s words, ”stran-
gled in a network of juridical niceties.” The
Germans came to our aid with a colossal
crime. On 7 May the passenger-ship Lusi-
tania was torpedoed off the south coast of
Ireland with the loss of 1100 souls, many
of them women and children, and some of
them Americans; and the news was hailed
in Germany with transports of delight from
ministers of religion and all but an insignif-
icant section of the people; medals were of-
ficially struck to commemorate the deed.
British lives had been lost through Russian
action off the Dogger Bank in 1904 with-
out provoking war, and the sinking of the
Lusitania did not precipitate war between
Germany and the United States. But it
eased the friction over our blockade, and
gave for the first time some general Amer-
ican support to the pro-Entente sentiment
which had from the beginning been strong
in the New England States. A moral force
was created in reserve which would in time
redress the military disasters which the En-
tente had yet to encounter.
    Effective and timely military co-operation
had been denied to the naval attack on the
Dardanelles because our available forces had
been mortgaged since January to an allied
offensive in the West; and the gradual recog-
nition of the fact that the naval enterprise
could not succeed without the diversion of
troops to that object committed the En-
tente to the simultaneous prosecution of two
major operations which could only converge
in case of success. This was but one of the
factors in the spring campaign which exhib-
ited Allied strategy at its worst. Even in the
West there was inadequate co-operation, and
the efforts made were both disjointed and
premature. We had yet to learn that al-
phabet of annihilation without which the
art of breaking German lines could not be
mastered; and there still lingered the idea
that isolated attacks on distant and narrow
sectors of the front could rupture the Ger-
man line and either roll it up or compel a
general retreat. Possibly some such plan
might have had some chance of success had
the forces of the Entente been concentrated
upon a single effort, and optimistic critics
anticipated a breach to the north of Verdun
which might close or at least threaten the
neck of the German bottle between Metz
and Limburg and precipitate a withdrawal
from their carefully prepared positions in
northern France and Belgium. But fear of
a German counter-offensive threatening the
Channel ports, difficulties of transport across
lines of communication, and defective unity
in ideas and in command condemned the
Allied attacks to separate sectors of the front
and spheres of operation; even that gen-
eral supervision which Foch had exercised
over all the forces engaged in the October
and November battles seems to have disap-
peared before the spring, and the French of-
fensive began in the Woevre while the British
attacked the other flank protecting Lille (see
Map, p. 79).
    The point selected was Neuve Chapelle,
a village at the foot of the Aubers ridge
which guarded La Bass´e to the south-west
and Lille to the north-east. The German
line there formed a marked salient, and an
attack on the ridge, if completely success-
ful, would shake the security of Lille, and
if but moderately successful would cut off
La Bass´e and straighten the line as far
as Givenchy. The moral indicated by the
elaborate defences constructed by the Ger-
mans during the winter had been at any
rate partially learnt, and the infantry at-
tack on the morning of 10 March was pre-
ceded by an artillery preparation which set
a new standard of destruction and was de-
signed to obliterate trenches, barbed wire,
and machine-gun positions. It was effec-
tive over the greater part of the front at-
tacked, and in the centre and on our right
the Fourth and Indian Corps quickly over-
came the dazed and decimated Germans
and pushed beyond Neuve Chapelle to the
Bois du Biez and slopes of the Aubers ridge
beyond. But our left had no such fortune
in the north of the village and at the neigh-
bouring Moulin de Pi´tre. There, for some
inexplicable reason, the defences had hardly
been touched by the artillery preparation,
and the 23rd Brigade in particular suffered
dismally as they tore with their hands at
the barbed wire and were shot down by the
German machine guns. The defences un-
broken by artillery were impenetrable by
human bodies, and the defenders were also
able to enfilade the troops which had got
through farther south and were now attack-
ing the second German line. The staff-work,
too, was deplorable, and reserves were late
or went astray, though it is doubtful whether
anything could have retrieved the initial er-
ror which left the German defences intact,
impeded the whole advance, and enabled
the enemy to recover and bring up reserves
before the attack was renewed on the two
following days. Possibly our high-explosive
had been exhausted. In any case there was
nothing to do but to count and consolidate
our gains. A village and a strip of terri-
tory some three miles by one had been se-
cured, and we estimated the German ca-
sualties at 20,000, and they themselves at
12,000; our own were nearly 13,000. The
chief effect was produced on the German
mind by the shock of our artillery: ”this,”
was the childish complaint of the masters of
high-explosive, ”is not war, it is murder.”
But German annoyance was poor compen-
sation for the shrinking of our ambitions,
and there was cold comfort in the failure of
the German counter-attacks here and at St.
Eloi farther north; for the Germans were
merely out for defence in the West and we
for a successful offensive, which had to be
tried again.
   The French with their larger forces and
greater experience were perhaps somewhat
more fortunate, but their local successes in
the Woevre and Alsace had no more effect
upon the general situation. Early in April
a series of attacks, spread over five days
and hampered by snowstorms, gave them
the plateau of Les Eparges on the north-
ern side of the St. Mihiel wedge and en-
abled them to advance towards Etain on
the road from Verdun to Metz. The impor-
tance they attached to these operations is
shown by their claim on 10 April that at Les
Eparges the Germans in two months had
had losses amounting to 30,000. Progress
was also made along the southern side of
the wedge between St. Mihiel and Pont-`-  a
Mousson; but although ground was gained
as a result of strenuous combat extending
over several weeks, the wedge stood firm;
and the effort to drive it out as a prelimi-
nary to the larger operations contemplated
in Lorraine was presently abandoned. In
Alsace Sondernach was taken and an ad-
vance was made during April down the Fecht
towards Metzeral and Munster, and the sum-
mit of the Hartmannsweilerkopf was recov-
ered. But the progress never really dis-
turbed the Germans, and indeed they would
probably have viewed greater success in that
divergent sphere with comparative equanim-
ity, knowing that it would waste an un-
friendly country and would not threaten their
main communications or position.
    These operations, combined with the Rus-
sian descent of the Carpathians, were an-
nounced in ”The Times” of 10 April as ”the
opening of the Allied offensive in the sum-
mer campaign of 1915.” But the disaster
which soon overtook the Russian plans had
its effect upon Allied designs in the West,
and induced an attempt to menace the Ger-
mans in a quarter more likely to disturb
their concentration on the East than a cam-
paign against the St. Mihiel wedge or in
the mountain frontiers of Alsace. The ten-
der spot on the West was Lille, with its
concentration of railways and importance
as protecting the right flank of the Ger-
man front along the Aisne and the left flank
of their hold on the Belgian coast. The
Germans learnt, divined, or anticipated the
design, and sought to parry or break the
force of the projected blow by a defensive-
offensive against Ypres. The attack was not
their real offensive for 1915, but they devel-
oped the habit of distracting attention from
their main objectives by decking out their
subsidiary operations with some new dev-
ilry of ingenuity; and just as in 1918 they
bombarded Paris with guns having a range
of 75 miles when their real objective was
the British front, so in 1915, when their
main effort was against the Russians, they
treated the defenders of Ypres to their first
experiments in poison-gas. They had tried
the effect on the humbler creation some time
before, and had indicated their intentions
by accusing their enemies of the practice
they had themselves in mind; but it came
as a ghastly surprise to the French Territo-
rials and British and Canadian troops along
the Yser on 22 April (see Map, p. 288).
    The attack had clearly been planned be-
forehand, because the preparation of the
chlorine gas, arrangement of the gas-tubes
along the front, and delay for the requisite
conditions wind and weather required time;
and the absence of any great concentration
of troops merely showed that, in view of
their commitments in the East, the Ger-
mans only sought at Ypres a local and tac-
tical success. It was a mere accident that
the gas attack north-east of the city fol-
lowed upon strenuous fighting for Hill 60
at the south-east re-entrant, and the choice
of locality was due to the German knowl-
edge of the facts that the French regulars
had been removed from the Yser and our
own heavy guns from Ypres in order to take
part in offensives farther south. The attack
on Hill 60 was begun by us on l7th April,
and its object was to acquire a gun position
which commanded the German trenches in
the Hollebeke district. The struggle lasted
for five days and was one of the fiercest lo-
cal combats in the war; at the end of it we
were still on what was left of a mound of
    The German offensive on the north-eastern
front of Ypres was heralded by a bombard-
ment of the city on the 20th which was de-
signed as a barrage to cut off communica-
tions with the front along the roads which
all ran through Ypres. On the evening of
the 22nd the gas attack developed, and as
the clouds of green vapour moved down on
the French Territorials, unprovided with any
sort of gas-masks and unprepared for the
terrifying effects of poison en masse, they
broke and fled, exposing the flank of the
Canadians on their right from Langemarck
to Grafenstafel. Never did troops make a
more heroic debut in war under more try-
ing conditions. Less affected by the gas
than the French Territorials, the Canadi-
ans counter-attacked the German left flank,
temporarily recaptured guns, and stayed the
advance. The gaping breach on their left
was partially filled by reinforcements from
the 28th Division on the 23rd, but the Ger-
mans were across the canal at Het Sas and
Lizerne, and the Canadians between St. Julien
and Grafenstafel were fighting on three fronts.
A second gas attack followed on the 24th,
and presently St. Julien had to be aban-
doned. Reinforcements were, however, com-
ing up; French regulars brilliantly recap-
tured Lizerne and Het Sas and secured the
west bank of the canal against a German
advance; and by the 29th the Canadians,
who had saved the situation but had suf-
fered heavily in the effort, were replaced by
British troops. There was still desperate
fighting to do for many days, and the curve
of the Ypres salient had been reduced to
a narrow oblong stretching from Ypres to
Grafenstafel and the Polygon Wood, and
little more than half in breadth what it was
in length. A shortening of the line was in-
evitable, and it was effected with great skill
and little loss on 3-4 May. But heavy bom-
bardment continued to take a dreadful toll
of life until a final gas attack on the 24th
concluded the German effort. Crude res-
pirators had been hastily supplied to our
troops and the gas attack was less effective
than before, but we were left with a line
which ran in a curve a bare three miles from
Ypres, and
    ”an acre sown indeed With the richest
royallest seed That the earth did e’er suck
   But if that soil round Ypres was a tomb
of British bodies, it became the grave of
German hopes. The shrunken line was enough,
and it remained unbroken till the war had
ceased. The military gain, if any, lay with
the Germans, whose casualties were far less
than ours. But the moral advantage lay
with us. It was not quite so clear as is com-
monly thought. The use of poison-gas as
a weapon of war was not a German inven-
tion; it was suggested by a British chemist
to Japan during the Russo-Japanese War.
But chemists have nothing to do with in-
ternational law or morality, and responsibil-
ity rests with Governments for their adop-
tion of methods provided by science. Nor is
there any clear moral distinction between
asphyxiating shells and gas emitted from
tubes. All war is torture; and, the moral-
ity of torture once admitted, the moral rea-
sons for discrimination between particular
degrees of suffering and efficiency cease to
be very convincing. The moral advantage
to us consisted in the heroism which our
troops endured the torture. If they could
unprepared withstand the gas attacks at
Ypres, there was nothing of which their man-
hood need be afraid; while the Germans
were in the humiliating position of one who,
foiled in legitimate combat, had tried to
take an unfair advantage and has failed.
Poison-gas was an ill-bred attempt at re-
venge for what they called murder at Neuve
Chapelle, just as they found consolation in
the sinking of the Lusitania for the ignomi-
nous situation of their High Seas Fleet.
    The offensive at Ypres slackened to meet
the Allied attacks elsewhere, and our troops
in the salient at least were not insensible to
the fact that even the Germans had insuffi-
cient artillery or high-explosive to maintain
an intense bombardment all along the line.
Both the French and ourselves began on 9
May, and the object was to threaten the
German position in front of Lens and Lille.
Lens was protected by a bulge in the Ger-
man front which ran round by Grenay, Aix-
Noulette, Notre Dame de Lorette, Ablain,
and Carency to the north-west of Arras,
and then south-eastwards by La Targette,
Ecurie, and Roclincourt. Between this line
and Lens lay the Vimy Ridge, and in front
of its southwestern slopes the Germans had
constructed elaborate fortifications above and
underground known as the White Work and
the Labyrinth. For the attack the French
had made careful preparations, and their
concentration of eleven hundred guns and
almost limitless shells exceeded in intensity
any previous experiment. They were re-
warded by the comparative ease with which
their initial successes were secured. Barbed
wire and earthen parapets were blown to
pieces before the infantry attacked and in
an hour and a half coveted two and a half
miles. La Targette and the White Work
were captured and an entrance forced into
Neuville St. Vaast. Farther north a sec-
ond attack was required, and it was not un-
til the 12th that Carency, Ablain, and the
summit of Notre Dame were mastered. The
line had been broken, but the fragments re-
solved themselves into almost impregnable
strongholds; it took another fortnight be-
fore the Souchez sugar-refinery, half a mile
in front of Ablain, fell, and the Labyrinth
held out, while behind these defences rose
the Vimy Ridge to defy for another two
years all attacks upon Lens (see Maps, pp.
79, 302).
    The lesson was that of Neuve Chapelle
on a larger scale, and all the more impres-
sive because of the careful preparations made
for victory. The breach of narrow front
was useless, because lines were no longer
made of men, but of fortifications which
held instead of rolling up, when broken, and
seeking safety in retreat. The simultane-
ous British attacks near Neuve Chapelle re-
peated the French experience and our own
in March. The first was north of Neuve
Chapelle towards Fromelles, and broke down
through inadequate artillery preparation; the
second, made on 16 May in front of Richebourg
l’Avou´ towards the Bois du Biez and Rue
d’Ouvert, was somewhat more successful,
and Sir John French wrote encouragingly
about the entire first line of the enemy’s
trenches having been captured on a front of
3000 yards with ten machine guns; but one
brigade alone lost 45 officers and 1179 men,
and La Bass´e and the Aubers ridge were as
forbidding as ever. It was not by victories
of that compass that the Germans would be
diverted from their Galician drive; and the
other major operation in the Dardanelles
to which the Entente had been committed
gave little better cause for satisfaction.
    The French had naturally refused to di-
vert a single division from their troops on
the Western front, and their contingent con-
sisted of a detachment of some colonial troops,
fusiliers marins, and the Foreign Legion. The
substantial force took longer to collect, and
had to be provided by Britain. Sir Ian Hamil-
ton was placed in command, and he was
given the 29th Division, the Naval Divi-
sion, a Territorial Division, and the Aus-
tralian and New Zealand Divisions serving
in Egypt, which was now considered safe for
the summer. The total amounted to three
corps, or 120,000 men. The Turks were di-
rected by the German general Liman von
Sanders, and he expected the landing to
be attempted near Bulair on the flat and
narrow isthmus which joined the Gallipoli
Peninsula to the mainland. His expectation
is perhaps the best justification for Sir Ian’s
selection of other spots, but there were few
that were practicable, and none that did not
involve enormous difficulties, for Liman von
Sanders’ anticipation of an attack at Bulair
did not preclude some effective precautions
against a landing elsewhere.
    The attempt began on 25 April at six
different points. Some way up the outer
or north-western shore of the peninsula the
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
effected a landing at Gaba Tepe, later called
Anzac from the initials of the force. Far-
ther down another was made in front of the
village of Krithia, and the remaining four
attempts were on beaches stretching round
the point of the peninsula from Tekke to
Morto Bay. All prospered fairly well except
at Sedd-el-Bahr, where a concentration of
Turkish fire kept most of the troops from
disembarking for thirty-two hours, and near
Krithia, where on the 26th a counter-attack
drove our forces back into their boats. Zeal
carried the Anzacs nearly to the summit of
the hills overlooking the Straits, and excess
of it led to heavy losses in a Turkish coun-
terattack; nor could the parties of British
troops who got within a few hundred yards
of Krithia on the 28th maintain their posi-
tion, and the result of this first attempt was
to give us possession of the extremity of the
peninsula from a mile above Eski Hissarlik
inside the Straits to three miles above Tekke
on the Aegean, and of an exposed ridge of
cliffs at Anzac. A French force had landed
at Kum Kale on the Asiatic mainland, but
only to destroy the Turkish batteries there
(see Map, p. 107).
    The coup de main had obviously failed,
and the struggle for Gallipoli resolved it-
self into a costly attack by inferior forces
on land against an almost impregnable po-
sition. Never were the difficulties of inva-
sion by sea more strikingly demonstrated,
and it was a misfortune that the generals
who continued throughout the war to dis-
tract the popular mind by depicting a Ger-
man invasion of England, were not all sent
to study the process in the Dardanelles. In
front of our narrow footholds the Turks,
amounting to 200,000 men, held positions
rising to over 700 feet at Achi Baba and
Pasha Dagh, and defended by masses of ar-
tillery and machine and elaborate systems
of trenches upon which the big guns from
our ships appeared to have little effect. Two
British submarines did gallant work by get-
ting up the Straits under the mine-fields
and disturbing the Turkish communications
across the Sea of Marmara; but there re-
mained land-routes on either shore, and re-
serves arrived more quickly on the Turkish
than on the British front. From 6-8 May a
second attack was made up the Saghir Dere
towards Krithia and the Kereves Dere to-
wards Achi Baba, while the Anzacs created
as much diversion as possible from Gaba
Tepe. But the bombardment from ships
and shore-batteries failed to destroy the Turk-
ish trenches, and an advance of a thousand
yards, which failed to reach the enemy’s
main positions, was only achieved at the
cost of casualties amounting by the end of
May to more than the losses in battle dur-
ing the whole Boer War. A third attack
on 4 June reinforced the lesson that noth-
ing short of an army large enough for a ma-
jor operation could master the Dardanelles,
and meanwhile an elusive German subma-
rine was threatening the naval supports. The
Goliath had been sunk by a Turkish tor-
pedo boat on 12 May, and the submarine
disposed of the Triumph on the 26th and
the Majestic on the following day. Silently
the Queen Elizabeth and her more impor-
tant consorts withdrew to safer waters, and
the naval attempt to force the Dardanelles
was gradually transformed into a military
siege of the peninsula.
    The spring offensive of the Allies had
gone to pieces everywhere except in the dis-
tant spheres of South Africa and Mesopotamia,
while the German offensive was carrying all
before it in Galicia. The first great disil-
lusionment of the war was at hand, and
its promised beginning in May looked un-
commonly like a repetition of the previous
August. Popular discontent focused itself
on the lack of munitions, and especially of
high-explosives, which ”The Times” mili-
tary correspondent declared on 14 May to
have been a fatal bar to our success. ”Some
truth there was, but brewed and dashed
with lies,” as Dryden remarked of Titus Oates’
plot. There were other bars as fatal, the
lack of guns, men, and generalship; and
the ultimate responsibility for the shortage
rested with those experts, Allied as well as
our own, who thought six Divisions an ade-
quate British force when the war broke out.
For the amount of high-explosive required
depends upon the number of guns and gun-
ners to use it and the length of line that
is held; and experience of South African
warfare had led generals to discount the
value of heavy guns and high-explosive and
to magnify that of mobility and mounted
men. It was only when trenches stretching
from the Alps to the sea were made impervi-
ous by German wire and concrete to assault
that the need for unlimited high-explosive
dawned on the minds of the higher com-
mands. The French were able, thanks to the
protection afforded by the British Navy, to
divert labour from naval construction and
repair to the production of munitions and
even to send naval guns to the trenches.
But that very fact added to the paramount
claim of the navy in Great Britain for muni-
tions; and a soldier must have been strangely
blind to the debt the Empire and the En-
tente owed to the British Navy before he
could urge his own Government to follow
the French example.
    The British Cabinet had begun to ap-
preciate the need in September 1914, and
on 21 April 1915 Mr. Lloyd George gave
in the House of Commons the rate of our
increased output as from 20 in September
to 90 in November, 156 in December, 186
in January, 256 in February, and 388 in
March, and added that the production of
high-explosives had been placed on a foot-
ing which relieved us of all anxiety. Even
an increase of 2000 per cent was doubtless
inadequate to our needs, and Mr. Asquith’s
frequently misquoted denial that our opera-
tions had been hampered by the deficiency,
showed that both Ministers had been misled
by their technical advisers. But the French,
who fired 300,000 shells on 9 May, were, in
spite of that fact and their greater forces,
not much more successful in front of Lens
than we at Neuve Chapelle; and unlimited
explosives did not bring us far on the road
to victory until more than three years af-
ter Mr. Lloyd George had been appointed
Minister of Munitions in May 1915 to rev-
olutionize the situation which had inspired
him with such confidence in April. We had
more to learn in the art of war than the
manufacture of munitions, and the dream
that a better supply would have enabled
us to beat the Germans in the spring of
1915–without any American troops at all
and with a British Army about a tenth of
the effective strength that was in the end
required–was as idle as the German fancy
that their similar superiority should have
brought us to our knees in the autumn of
    The delusion served, however, to shake
Mr. Asquith’s Government to its founda-
tions. Lord Kitchener himself, the popu-
lar idol for whom the press had clamoured
at the beginning of the war, was deposed
from his shrine in ultra-patriotic hearts be-
cause he had devoted himself to the raising
of armies more than to the making of mu-
nitions. But the first offensive in the press,
as often happened in the field, fell short of
its objective: Lord Kitchener received the
Garter amid the plaudits of ”Punch,” and
the curious spectacle was exhibited of the
most excitable journal in the realm being
publicly burnt on the Stock Exchange by
the nation’s most excitable body of citizens.
Another incident supervened upon the mu-
nitions outcry; Lord Fisher resigned from
the Admiralty on 15 May. He had had no-
torious differences with Mr. Churchill over
the Dardanelles and other questions; and
unable to do without either at the Admi-
ralty, Mr. Asquith dispensed with both,
and covered up the deficiency by a Coali-
tion. The principal Unionists joined the
Cabinet, and the chief Liberal Jonah was
Lord Haldane, who knew a great deal about
Germany and was therefore accused of be-
ing pro-German. He also knew something
of science, and might conceivably have been
more alive to the need of munitions than
Lord Kitchener. But the nation would not
have tolerated his presence at the War Of-
fice, and even resented it on the Woolsack.
He left his seat to successors who did not
fill his place.
    Apart from this concession to popular
prejudice, the Coalition was an advantage
from the national though not from the Pre-
mier’s personal or party point of view. He
would have been wiser in his own interests
to have resigned and left the responsibility
to men whose supporters believed that with
a little more energy and foresight the war
could be won in a few months or at most a
year. Few had as yet realized that the strug-
gle was one between mighty nations which
only the perseverance of peoples, and not
the merits of Ministers, could decide; and
the inevitable deferment of foolish hopes
would sooner or later have produced a re-
action in favour of the retiring Premier and
his party. But it would have been accom-
panied by a revival of party warfare which
would have undoubtedly weakened national
unity and impaired the prospects of success;
and all parties to the Coalition–Liberal, Union-
ist, and Labour–were patriotically inspired
when they agreed to share a burden which
the wiser among their leaders foresaw would
tax their united strength.
    There was need enough for unity dur-
ing the summer of 1915 when the Allied of-
fensive in the West had broken down, lit-
tle progress was being made in the Dard-
anelles, and the Germans were driving the
Russians like chaff before them. The one
gleam of light was the intervention of Italy,
which might distract Austrian forces from
the Galician front and in any case meant
some accession of strength to the Allied cause.
Italy had already rendered inestimable ser-
vices to the Entente by proclaiming that
Germany’s action was offensive in charac-
ter, and therefore dispensed Italy from an
obligation to support her partners in the
Triple Alliance; and her neutrality during
August and intervention in May disproved
the gibe of the French diplomatist that she
would rush to the rescue of the conqueror.
The question throughout the winter was whether
she would complete her breach of the Triple
Alliance by attacking her former Allies. The
grievance upon which diplomacy fixed was
the reciprocal compensation which Austria
and Italy had promised each other in case
either were forced to disturb the status quo
in the Balkans. Austria pleaded that her
invasion of Serbia involved no permanent
disturbance, because no permanent annexa-
tion was intended; to which Baron Sonnino
retorted that Austria had declared, during
the Turkish-Italian war, that an Italian bom-
bardment of the Dardanelles or even the
use of searchlights against the Turkish coast
would constitute a breach of the agreement.
In March Baron Burian accepted the prin-
ciple that compensation was due to Italy,
and discussion arose as to its nature and
extent. The Italian Government pressed
its advantage, and demanded not only the
whole of Italia irredenta, that unredeemed
territory peopled by Italians in the Trentino
and across the Adriatic, which had been left
under Hapsburg dominion after the wars of
Italian liberation, but practically the whole
north-eastern coasts of the Adriatic which
were inhabited by a predominantly Slav pop-
    Austria, under German pressure, trav-
elled far on the path of concession, but no
conclusion could be reached that way. For
concessions at the expense of the Jugo-Slavs
would not be recognized by the Entente if
it won the war; and if the Central Empires
were successful, they were not likely to re-
gard these promises extracted from them
in their hour of need as more binding than
other scraps of paper. The negotiations were,
indeed, no more than a diplomatic method
of forcing the issue and setting a standard
for the concessions to be demanded from
the Entente as the price of Italy’s interven-
tion. We could not afford, it was thought,
to offer less than Austria, and we probably
underestimated Italy’s fears and difficulties.
She was really bound to intervene, because
if she stood out, she would lose whichever
side won. There was a triangular duel for
the control of the Adriatic; if the Central
Empires were victorious the Adriatic would
become a Teutonic lake; if the Entente suc-
ceeded, its north-eastern shores would be-
come Jugo-Slav. Italy could only avoid that
dilemma by intervention in favour of the
winning side, and thus establishing a claim
to share in the fruits of victory. Her ambi-
tions were considerable: not only did she in-
sist that control of the eastern shores of the
Adriatic was essential to the safety of her
own exposed and harbourless coasts, but
she regarded herself as the heir of Venice,
which ”once did hold the gorgeous East in
fee”; and she hoped to retain the Greek
islands of the Dodecanese which she had
seized during the Turkish War, and to ac-
quire a foothold in Asia Minor and on the Il-
lyrian coast along the Straits of Otranto. It
would not be easy to harmonize her claims
with those of Serbia who was already our
ally, nor those of Greece whose adhesion
was expected. But Italy’s sword seemed
worth the risk and the price in the spring
of 1915, and the Treaty of London was con-
cluded on 26 April which promised her most
of what she desired, and produced some of
the hardest tasks for the ultimate Congress
of Peace.
    The compact was from the first more
honoured in the breach than the observance.
Italy undertook to wage war by all means
at her disposal in union with France, Great
Britain, and Russia against the Powers at
war with them. But for another year she re-
mained at peace with Germany. War was,
indeed, declared upon Austria on 22 May,
but the union with the Allies was limited al-
most exclusively to the prosecution of Italy’s
territorial ambitions, and the forces employed
hardly produced effects to correspond with
the facts that the population of Italy was
almost equal to that of France and that the
bulk of the Austrian armies were involved in
the struggle with Russia. Italy had, indeed,
peculiar disadvantages; she was more di-
vided in mind about the war than any of the
great protagonists, and the splendid quali-
ties of her Bersaglieri and Alpini were not
shared by all her troops. Her war strength
was put at a million men, and she still had
to cope with Turkish forces in Tripoli which
only surrendered at the end of the war as
a condition of the armistice concluded be-
tween Great Britain and Turkey. She was
further hampered by lack of coal and inade-
quate industrial equipment, and her north-
ern frontier had been so drawn in the Alps
as to give Austria every advantage of the
passes both for offence and defence. To
these drawbacks were added a defective strat-
egy dictated by political idiosyncrasies. The
capture of Trieste rather than the defeat
of the enemy was made the great objec-
tive of the campaign. It had the advantage
that it might not involve German troops in
its defence, and the defect that it was a
divergent operation which even if success-
ful would have no material influence on the
general course of the war. Soon, too, it
became evident that Trieste was not likely
to fall until Austria was defeated on other
fields or fell into impotence through domes-
tic disruption (see Map, p. 298).
    The campaign began with scattered Ital-
ian offensives all along the northern fron-
tier, designed to wrest from the Austrians
their control of the Alpine heights and passes,
and to secure the flank of the main attack
across the Isonzo towards Trieste. Slight
successes were gained at various points, and
the enemy was pressed back almost to the
head of Lake Garda. But no serious im-
pression was made on his positions except
along the lower reaches of the Isonzo. Here
the west bank from Tolmino down to Mon-
falcone and the sea fell into Italian hands.
Gradisca was captured on 10 June and the
river was crossed at different points. On
the 20th the Italians announced their firm
establishment on the slopes of Monte Nero
above Tolmino and Caporetto, and on 26
July a similar success on Monte San Michele
and Monte dei Sei Busi farther south near
Gorizia. On 4 August they were even said
to be making progress on the Carso to the
south-east. But all these gains were illu-
sory. Gorizia itself remained in Austrian
hands for another year, the heights east of
it were not mastered until 1917, and nei-
ther Tolmino nor the Carso fell to the Ital-
ians until the war had been lost and won.
There was nothing here to disturb the Aus-
trian concentration of effort against their
Russian foes or to call for German assis-
tance to their Austrian allies. Italy did,
however, on 20 August declare war upon
Turkey, with which she had not yet made a
definitive peace since the outbreak of hos-
tilities in 1911; and it was even announced
that she would send an expedition to the
Eastern Mediterranean. This was taken to
mean a descent upon Adalia in Asia Minor,
where Italy desired to stake out her claims
in the expectation of an early dissolution of
the Turkish Empire. But the Turks showed
unexpected signs of animation under Ger-
man stimulants, and the ”eastern Mediter-
ranean” expedition was reduced to the nearer
and more practical exploit of seizing Avlona
which there were not even Turkish troops
to defend. Italy was not alone to blame,
for the first use the Serbs made of Italy’s
committal to the Entente cause was to dash
across to the Adriatic coast where their ri-
val claims conflicted.
    The Gallipoli campaign therefore dragged
its weary length along throughout the tor-
rid heat of summer without an Italian diver-
sion, serving mainly as a demonstration of
practical though ineffective sympathy with
our Russian allies. Another attack on Krithia,
launched on 28 June, gave us control of the
Saghir Dere and led to considerable Turkish
losses in the counter-attacks which Enver,
defying Liman’s wiser advice, had ordered;
and the French under Gouraud made a cor-
responding advance on the eastern shore of
the peninsula. Gouraud received a wound
which required the amputation of his leg
and his retirement to France, where he later
rendered more brilliant and far more effec-
tive service. On 12 July yet another effort
was made to capture Krithia without sub-
stantial success; and the much-tried armies
on that forbidding and barren field then
sat down to await the reinforcements de-
manded and the new plan which was ma-
turing for the solution of the problem.
    Stagnation also set in along the West-
ern front, and the summer campaign was
marked by as little movement as the win-
ter. An attack was made in the Argonne on
20 June more in the interests of the Crown
Prince’s reputation than in those of strat-
egy; and the advance which attained the
depth of a mile was reduced by counter-
attacks on 14 July to 400 yards. Another
at Hooge in front of Ypres on 30 July was
marked by the first employment in battle of
one of our new divisions recruited since the
war began, and on the German side by the
use of liquid fire. It was successful in mak-
ing an awkward dent in our line, but again
a counterattack on 9 August restored the
situation. That, however, was one which
suited the Germans, for they were simply
out to hold their lines in the West, while be-
hind those lines they commandeered French
and Belgian labour and worked French and
Belgian mines to eke out their own muni-
tions of war and supply the needs of their
campaign on the other side of Europe. To-
wards stopping that our checks to their lo-
cal attacks in the West and offensive op-
erations of our own did nothing. Impor-
tant and sweeping French successes contin-
ued to be announced from time to time in
the press, and occasionally positions were
captured and retained, as at Buval near
            e                       e
Souchez, H´buterne, and Quennevi´res. The
Germans, too, failed in their attacks on Les
Eparges, while the French succeeded in cap-
turing Metzeral in Alsace. But the great of-
fensive in Artois had subsided into stubborn
hand-to-hand fighting in the Labyrinth, which
was as costly as a first-class battle without
producing its results.
    So spring passed into summer and the
days began to wane, with the Germans reap-
ing the fruits of their foresight and prepa-
rations in the East, while we pinned our
faith to the silver lining of the clouds and
looked day by day for that offensive which
was to relieve our hard-pressed Allies but
did not come. The truth was hidden from
the public eye, and possibly with prudence;
for there are times in which without illu-
sions the weight of gloom would be intolera-
ble. The difficulty is that illusion also dims
the sense of danger and of duty; our be-
lated provision for war was still retarded by
strikes, profiteering, and perversity, and the
King’s example of total abstinence failed to
prevent the nation from spending more on
drink in war than in peace. An imperfectly
educated people is slow to grasp a novel
situation; and it was only by stealth and
caution that it could be led along the path
of preparation for the part we had to play
by national service, national thrift, and na-
tional control.
    THE winter, spring, and summer which
had passed with so little change on the other
fronts, owed their lack of decisive movement
not to the comforting delusion of the French
official communiqu´ that Germany’s offen-
sive had been broken and her defensive could
be broken whenever it was thought desir-
able, but to the fact that she had reversed
her strategy, and reached the conclusion that
Russia could be defeated more easily than
France. Russia, indeed, had almost limit-
less man-power, but the war had already
shown the importance of munitions, and
Germany quickly learnt the lesson. Rus-
sia was ill-equipped with munitions and the
industrial facilities for their manufacture;
nor could the want be supplied by her al-
lies, since, apart from their own needs, their
communications with Russia were circuitous,
uncertain, and inadequate. The Murmansk
railway was not complete, the route to Archangel
was icebound from November to May, and
the single rail across Siberia was further
hampered by indolence and corruption on
the part of the railway workers and their
staff. Russia was the most isolated of the
Allies, and the attempt to open a shorter
connexion by a naval attack on the Dard-
anelles had been frustrated. Without as-
sistance from the West, Russia would be
beaten, and without it she could not re-
cover. There were good reasons for the pol-
icy which led Germany, during the winter
and behind an unpenetrated veil of secrecy,
to concentrate her energies upon the pro-
duction of guns and munitions for the East-
ern front.
    The strategical position of Russia was
no more sound than the state of her ar-
maments. She occupied a vast salient, the
southern flank of which was the Carpathi-
ans. They formed a substantial protection,
since the passes afforded poor facilities for
transporting the mass of artillery on which
Germany relied for success in her attack.
But the safety of the flank depended upon
the integrity of the front, and a success-
ful German drive in Galicia would expose
the entire position of the Russian armies
in Poland. The two reasons subsequently
given for the dismissal of the Grand Duke
Nicholas from the supreme command were,
firstly, that he had in the autumn advanced
too precipitately into Silesia, and secondly,
that in the spring he exhausted his strength
in trying to pierce the Carpathians and thus
left his front on the Dunajec too weak to re-
sist Mackensen’s furious onslaught. But it
is doubtful whether any strategic correcti-
tude could have saved the Russian armies
from the effects of German superior arma-
ments. The Germans were playing for high
stakes, nothing less than the destruction of
Russia’s offensive capacity; but they were
justified in their game by the cards they
held in their hand.
    The attack began on 28 April with a
forward move on Dmitrieff’s left at Gorlice.
The pressure compelled him to weaken his
centre along the Biala in front of Ciezkow-
ice. Then on 1 May Mackensen’s vast vol-
ume of fire burst forth; over 700,000 shells
are said to have fallen upon the Russian
position, and their defences were blown out
of existence. Under cover of this fire, to
which the Russians could make little reply,
the Biala was crossed, Ciezkowice and Gor-
lice were captured, and Dmitrieff’s line was
broken; on the 2nd his army was in full re-
treat to the Wisloka, twenty miles back in
his rear, where no trenches had been dug,
and there was little hope of checking the
Germans. Nevertheless a heroic stand was
here made for five days by Caucasian and
other reinforcements. On the 7th Mack-
ensen forced a crossing at Jaslo, and next
day he pursued his advantage by seizing two
bridgeheads across the Wistok farther on,
one at Fryslak to the north and the other
at Rymanow to the south. Brussilov’s army
along the Carpathian foothills at Dukla had
to beat a precipitate retreat and lost heav-
ily; it was nearly severed from Dmitrieff’s
centre. But a counterattack from Sanok
in the south and a stand by the Russians
at Dembica towards the north procured a
slight respite, and by the i4th the bulk of
the Russian armies were across the San with
their right at Jaroslav, their left at Kosziowa,
their centre at Przemysl, and their forces in
Poland conforming to the retirement.
    The latter part of the retreat had been
of a more orderly character and began to
follow a plan, but the plan involved a great
deal more than the surrender of Galicia be-
tween the San and the Dunajec. Mack-
ensen’s force was overpowering, and the Ger-
man design was not to lengthen the line by
compelling a Russian retreat to the San; it
only fell short of complete success because
the Russian armies had not so far been iso-
lated and destroyed, but there was still the
likelihood of their being driven back un-
til the whole of Galicia was recovered and
Poland lost. For the rest of the month Mack-
ensen’s huge machine of destruction was mov-
ing forward to the second stage of its jour-
ney on the San. Its progress was delayed
by Russian counter-attacks on the Austri-
ans under Von Woyrsch in Poland and on
Mackensen’s other wing which was advanc-
ing from the Carpathians on to the Dni-
ester. But by the i8th Kosziowa had fallen
and the Germans had seized the line of the
San from Sieniawa to Jaroslav. Przemysl
had not been further fortified by the Rus-
sians since its capture; it would clearly meet
the same fate as Antwerp from the German
howitzers unless the Russian armies in the
field could keep the German artillery at a
distance. They could only delay matters
until the stores and material were removed
from the fortress. It was now a salient threat-
ened with encirclement on the north and
south. Russian counter-attacks at Sieni-
awa and Mosciska relieved the pressure for
some days, but before the end of May Mack-
ensen’s howitzers were at work, and Prze-
mysl was evacuated by the Russians on 1
   On the same day Stryj fell to Von Linsin-
gen and on 7 June he forced the Dniester
at Zurawno. But he had advanced too far
ahead of his communications and reserves,
and on the 8th Brussilov drove him back
over the Dniester with severe losses. The
Dniester was indeed the scene of stubborn
fighting for many days, and on the 18th
the Russian Government announced that
the enemy had lost between 120,000 and
150,000 men in their efforts to cross it on a
front of forty miles. But the Russian stand
on the Dniester only left it to Mackensen’s
centre and left to turn the Grodek posi-
tion and ensure the fall of Lemberg. By 20
June the Russian communications north of
the Galician capital were severed by a bat-
tle at Rawa Ruska, and on the 22nd, after
nine months’ Russian occupation, it once
more fell into Austrian hands. The Rus-
sians had not done much to commend their
cause to the inhabitants during their stay;
the opportunity was seized for proselytiz-
ing in the interests of the Orthodox Church,
and Sczeptycki the Archbishop of Lemberg,
a member of the Uniate Church which had
made terms with Roman Catholicism, was
treated with a harshness compared with which
the indignities inflicted by the Germans upon
Cardinal Mercier of Malines were trivial; he
was interned in a Russian monastery and
deprived of all religious rites save those which
were to him heretical.
    The fall of Lemberg was followed by the
loss of the Dniester line as far as Halicz,
and all beyond it including the Bukovina,
and the Russians fell back behind the Gnilia
Lipa, where Ivanov prolonged a stubborn
resistance. But the aims of the Germans in
Galicia had been achieved with the capture
of Lemberg except in so far as the remnants
of the Russian armies remained intact. The
city formed a formidable bastion for defence
because of its ample lines of communica-
tion with the south and west, and inade-
quate lines to the north and east. A farther
German advance across the Russian fron-
tier in that direction would be an eccentric
movement, and the front of attack was ac-
cordingly swung round from east to north,
where the Russian position in Poland had
been outflanked. The reconquest of Galicia
produced fruits enough in the restoration of
Austrian and Hungarian confidence and the
repression of pro-Entente tendencies in the
Balkans. But it was only a part of the most
ambitious and successful campaign the Ger-
mans fought in the war. May and June were
but the prelude to greater successes in July,
August, and September.
    The heaviest blows were to be struck
in the Polish centre, but diversions had al-
ready been made on the extreme German
left in the north. Libau had fallen on 9 May,
and during that and the following month
the German armies under Von Buelow over-
ran the duchy of Courland as far as Windau
on the coast and Shavli half-way to Riga.
This movement was regarded with compar-
ative indifference as being a divergent op-
eration calculated at worst to do no more
than distract Russian forces from more crit-
ical points. But it was in keeping with a
German design considered grandiose until
it nearly succeeded. The bulk of Russia’s
forces were concentrated in the Polish tri-
angle of which the apex was at Warsaw, the
base ran from Kovno by Brest-Litovsk to
the Galician frontier, the north-western side
in front of the railway from Kovno to War-
saw, and the southern in front of that from
Warsaw to Lublin, Cholm, Kovel, Rovno,
and Kiev. The German plan was not merely
to squeeze the Russians out of the triangle
by pressure on the sides and intercept as
much of their forces as possible, but also
to outflank the whole position by striking
behind the base from the north at Vilna;
and a naval attack on Riga was part of the
projected operations.
    The Galician drive had furnished the ter-
ritorial means for the attack on the south-
ern side of the Polish triangle; and although
Ivanov was farther pushed back from the
Gnilia Lipa to the Strypa and thence al-
most to the Sereth, this Eastern advance
became irrelevant to the main strategic de-
sign, and German reinforcements were col-
lecting mostly under Gallwitz, Scholtz, and
Von Eichhorn along the Narew and the Niemen
for an onslaught on the north-western side
of the triangle. The Austrian Prince Leopold’s
forces which fronted Warsaw on the Bzura
at the apex were comparatively weak, and
were only intended to gather the fruits of
the real fighting done by the Germans on
the flanks. The Germans rode roughshod
enough over Austrian susceptibilities when
efficiency required it; but they atoned for
the brusqueness by conceding a large share
in the spectacular aspects of triumph; and
just as the Austrians entered Lemberg first
and not its real conqueror Mackensen, so
Prince Leopold was cast for the part of the
victor of Warsaw. But first of all the Gali-
cian armies had to face north to take their
allotted share in the scheme by driving the
Russians back across the railway between
Lublin and Kovel.
   Within a few days of the fall of Lem-
berg they had crossed the Russian frontier,
turning the Vistula and advancing in two
columns, one under the Archduke Joseph
towards Krasnik on the road to Lublin, and
the other farther east under Mackensen to-
wards Krasnostav on the way to Cholm.
The Russian army in Poland west of the
Vistula had gradually to conform to the re-
treating line and fall back in a north- east-
erly direction towards the river. By 2 July
the Archduke was in Krasnik, but here he
was checked by the Russian position de-
fending the railway line; on the 5th the Rus-
sians, who had been reinforced, counter-
attacked, and in a battle lasting till the
9th drove the Austrians back. Similarly
Mackensen found himself held up between
Zamosc and Krasnostav, and for a week the
struggle for the Lublin- Cholm railway re-
solved itself into an artillery duel. The at-
tack was resumed on the 16th simultane-
ously with Von Gallwitz’s movement against
the other side of the triangle. The Arch-
duke failed after ten assaults to carry the
Russian position in front of him at Wilko-
laz, but Mackensen was more successful at
Krasnostav. He enveloped the Russian right,
drove it beyond Krasnostav, and was soon
within striking distance of the railway.
    Meanwhile, to the north Gallwitz had
forced the Russians from Prasnysz towards
the Narew on the 14th, and crossed it him-
self on the 23rd between Pultusk and Rozhan
as well as between Ostrolenka and Lomza;
and by the 25th he was on the banks of
the Bug, within twenty miles of the railway
connecting Warsaw with Petrograd. The
great line of fortresses along the Narew were
now exposed to bombardment by German
howitzers; the Russians in front of Warsaw
withdrew from their winter defences along
the Rawka and Bzura to the inner lines of
Blonie; and south of Warsaw they retired
from Opatow, then from Radom, and then
to the great fortress of Ivangorod on the
Vistula. Even that was now threatened by
Mackensen’s advance to the Lublin line in
its rear. It was broken on the 29th, and
on the 30th the Germans were in Lublin
and Cholm. Warsaw was doomed, and, in-
deed, the Grand Duke Nicholas had as early
as the 15th decided upon its evacuation.
The fighting along the Lublin-Cholm line,
and the strenuous resistance the Russians
offered on the 26th to Gallwitz’s renewed
attacks on the Narew, were intended not to
save Warsaw, but the armies defending and
the stores within it. On 4 August the troops
abandoned the Blonie lines and marched
through the city, blowing up the bridges
across the Vistula. Next day Prince Leopold
made his triumphal entry, and the first year
of the war closed on the Eastern front with
an event of greater significance even than
that which the Kaiser attached to it. To
him the capture of Warsaw was a resound-
ing tribute to the success of German arms:
to future generations the import of the Rus-
sian departure will doubtless be the term it
set to Russian rule in Poland, and it may
be deemed one of the ironies of history that
Hohenzollern autocracy should have been
made the instrument to wreck the Russian
domination. In spite of themselves the Ger-
mans assisted to achieve the common pur-
poses of the great war of liberation.
    Russian autocracy was indeed stricken
to death by its own inherent maladies nearer
home than Poland. Shallow democrats in
the West were deploring the lack of previ-
sion and provision exhibited by their demo-
cratic Governments, but no democracy en-
dured a tithe of the sufferings inflicted upon
Russian soldiers by the blindness, incompe-
tence, and corruption of the bureaucratic
Tsardom. Confident in the successes which
the heroism of its troops had won over the
discordant forces of the Hapsburg Empire
and those which Germany could spare from
the Western front, it had neglected to per-
form any of the promises it had made to
conciliate the inhabitants of Poland and Gali-
cia, and had even failed to take the com-
monest military precautions to safeguard
its victories. Nothing had been done in
Galicia to put the captured Przemysl into a
state of defence, and even the bridge across
the San had not been repaired to provide
a direct line of supply to the front on the
Dunajec. Offers of skilled labour from other
countries to improve the inefficient service
of Russian railways and the inept direction
of industries and munition factories were ig-
nored. The business organization of Russia
had been managed mainly by Germans be-
fore the war; too much of it was left in their
hands after war began, with the result that
the Putilov munition works, for instance,
were reduced to half-time by German con-
trol; and there was no one to take the place
of those who departed. Russian generals
were among the most skilful of strategists,
and men like Ruszky, Alexeiev, Brussilov,
and others would have been invincible had
Russia’s man-power been competently equipped.
As it was, every sort of provision was ne-
glected; the artillery of one army was lim-
ited to two shells a day; a whole division
had on one occasion to face an attack with-
out a rifle among them, and troops were put
into trenches relying for weapons on those
which fell from the hands of their dead or
wounded comrades. These were the orga-
nized atrocities of autocratic bureaucracy,
and it was little wonder that in time they
bred in the breasts of Russian soldiers a
fiercer resentment against their rulers who
betrayed them than against the enemy whom
they fought.
   The retreat which followed the fall of
Warsaw was sympathetically represented as
a masterly operation, and the failure of the
Germans to envelop and isolate the Russian
armies as proof of the breakdown of their
strategy. But all retreats in the war, with
the exception of the Turks’ before Allenby,
were similarly described in the appropriate
quarters. It was the common characteris-
tic of the victors that they could not win
decisive battles in the sense of earlier wars,
and of the vanquished that they evaded the
expected Sedans and Waterloos. Even the
Germans with all their initial advantages
of preparation and surprise could not break
the Allied armies in their first offensive on
the West, and the same inability dogged
their still more rapid footsteps in the East.
It is a consequence of the reliance of mod-
ern armies on the mechanical force of ar-
tillery to which the Germans were especially
addicted; for while 16-inch howitzers could
pulverise any position, they could not pur-
sue with the speed required to encircle and
capture armies in the field. Hence salients,
which when viewed in the light of older con-
ditions seemed traps which could not be
eluded, were in practice evaded because, with
Allenby’s one exception, cavalry failed to
atone for the slower movement of the more
powerful arm of artillery. There was noth-
ing therefore miraculous in the Russian es-
cape, and the strategy of the Grand Duke
was hardly so brilliant as it was represented.
At the beginning of the war Alexeiev, then
Ivanov’s chief of staff, is said to have coun-
selled a Russian retreat like those which
lured Charles XII and Napoleon to their
doom; but the temptations of Austrian weak-
ness and German concentration on the West
and the plight of France and Belgium led to
the adoption of other advice and the prema-
ture invasion of Prussia, Galicia, and Hun-
gary; and in August 1915 it was too late
for a voluntary and innocuous retreat. The
safety of the majority had to be bought at
a heavy price in casualties, in loss of guns
and material, in suffering for the troops and
civilians, and in national dejection. What
might have been cheerfully done by choice
was despondently done by compulsion.
    The evacuation of Warsaw was the first
step in the withdrawal from the apex of the
Polish triangle which it was hoped the resis-
tance of the sides would enable the Russians
to complete without disaster; and a large
garrison with adequate guns and ammuni-
tion was left at Novo Georgievsk to impede
the German advance and hamper communi-
cations with their front. The greatest men-
ace was on the north-west along the Narew
and beyond in Courland where Von Buelow
was preparing to strike behind the base of
the triangle. On 10 August Von Scholtz
breached the line of fortresses by storming
Lomza, but Kovno was a much more crit-
ical point. It was the angle of the base,
and its fall would not only threaten the
base running south to Brest-Litovsk and all
the Russian armies west of that line, but
would greatly facilitate Von Buelow’s sweep
round beyond it and Vilna. The bombard-
ment began on the day that Warsaw fell.
Kovno was expected to hold out at least
to the end of the month, but it fell on the
17th, and the general in command was sub-
sequently sentenced to fifteen years’ hard
labour for his inadequate defence and ab-
sence from his post of duty. On the follow-
ing day Von Gallwitz cut the line between
Kovno and Brest at Bielsk, and on the 19th
Novo Georgievsk fell to the howitzers of Von
Beseler, the expert of Antwerp. Ossowiec,
which had stood so well against the ear-
lier German invasions, followed on the 23rd,
and Von Beseler was brought up to give the
coup de grˆce to Brest. Its loss was per-
haps inevitable after the fall of Kovno, but
it completed the destruction of the base of
the triangle and involved the withdrawal of
the whole Russian line beyond the Pripet
marshes which would break its continuity;
and there was cold comfort in the fact that
Ewarts got away with most of his troops
and stores and that a Russian mine, ex-
ploded two days after their departure, de-
stroyed a thousand Germans and set a prece-
dent for similar machinations on their part
when they retreated in the West.
    Fortresses now toppled down like ninepins.
On the 26th Augustowo was evacuated and
Bialystok captured. On the 27th Olita was
abandoned and on 2 September Grodno.
The Germans thus gained the whole line
from Kovno to Brest, and things were go-
ing no better in the south. The fall of Lem-
berg had given the German right a posi-
tion far to the east of their left, and Mack-
ensen advancing from Lublin and Cholm
had driven the Russians across the Bug at
Wlodawa before Brest-Litovsk was taken.
The marshes of Pripet were at their dri-
est in August, and Mackensen encountered
few obstacles as he pressed on from Brest to
Kobrin and thence to Pinsk along the rail
to Moscow. In Galicia Ivanov was pushed
back to the Strypa and then the Sereth,
and on the upper reaches of those rivers
Brody was captured and two of the Volhy-
nian fortresses, Dubno and Lutsk. Rovno
itself was threatened, and with it the south-
ern stretch of that lateral railway from Riga
to Lemberg on which the Germans had set
their hearts.
    But the most ominous German advance
was far to the north, where Von Buelow
was profiting by the fall of Kovno, march-
ing on Mitau and Riga, and threatening
both to cut the railway between Vilna and
Petrograd and confine the Russian retreat
to congested and narrow lines of communi-
cation along which they could not escape.
This northern advance was accompanied by
a naval offensive in the Baltic, designed to
seize Riga and turn the line of the Dvina
on which the Russians hoped to stand in
the last resort. Fortunately this part of
the campaign broke down before matters
had reached their worst on land. It looked
like a naval operation planned, or at least
attempted, by soldiers professionally inca-
pable of grasping the elementary principles
of naval or amphibious warfare. After an
unsuccessful attack on the southern inlet to
the Gulf of Riga on 10 August, the Germans
during a thick fog on the 17th sought to
land troops at Pernau in large flat-bottomed
barges without having secured command of
the sea; and the entire landing- force was
captured or destroyed. Simultaneously the
Russian Fleet engaged the Germans, who
had eight destroyers and two cruisers sunk
or put out of action; the only Russian ves-
sel lost was an old gunboat. The Dvina
lines were not to be turned by strategy like
this, and Russia was henceforth free from
naval interference until her sailors played
her false.
    Von Buelow was still, however, to be
reckoned with, and he was the substantial
danger. On 28 August he began his move-
ment against the Dvina, which would, if
successful, cut off all the Russian armies
from direct communication with Petrograd.
The blow was struck at Friedrichstadt, where
the river is crossed by the only practica-
ble road between Riga and Jacobstadt, but
the design was to turn the whole front as
far as Dvinsk; and Von Buelow held out
to his troops the alluring prospect of win-
ter quarters in Riga and a march on Pet-
rograd in the spring. On 3 September the
left bank was cleared for some miles, but
all attempts to cross were frustrated. The
out-march on the extreme German left had
failed, and the critical point moved south
towards Vilna. The danger here was seri-
ous enough, for the depletion of the Rus-
sian forces and length of their line had left
a gap between Dvinsk and Vilna, and into
this gap the Germans thrust a huge cavalry
force which more nearly turned the Russian
line than any other movement in the cam-
    The way was prepared by the great ten-
days’ battle of Meiszagola. The unexpect-
edly rapid fall of Kovno and Grodno had
enabled the Germans to threaten the envel-
opment of Ewarts’ army both on the south
and the north, on the Niemen towards Mosty
and Lida and farther north towards Vilna.
The struggle for Vilna was decided at Meiszagola,
a village about fifteen miles north-west of
the old Lithuanian capital. It was captured
on 12 September, and masses of German
cavalry swept round from Vilkomir towards
Sventsiany and crossed the Petrograd rail-
way to outflank the retreating Russian troops.
The evacuation of Vilna began on the 13th,
and two days later the menace from the
German cavalry became more apparent. Fresh
divisions were apparently brought up from
Courland with 140 guns; on the 16th they
were at Vidzy and on the 17th at Vileika,
nearly seventy miles due east of Vilna and
in the rear of the Russians escaping thence.
They were thus also close to Molodetchno
on the railway along which Ewarts was falling
back from Skidel, Mosty, and Lida; and con-
trol of that junction would have put two
Russian armies at their mercy.
    Just in time Ruszky was restored to the
command of the northern group of Rus-
sian armies, and the victor of Rawa Ruska
and Prasnysz was not doomed now to break
his uniform record of success. The situa-
tion was not unlike that at Prasnysz, and it
was relieved in a similar way by a Russian
counter-offensive from Dvinsk against the
flank of the German cavalry. Vidzy was re-
captured on the 20th, and farther south the
pressure slackened along the Vilna-Vileika
railway; Smorgon was retaken by a brilliant
bayonet charge on the 21st. The door had
been kept from closing on Russian armies
seeking to escape from the salient between
Lida and Molodetchno, while the Germans
were squeezed out of that which they had
made to the north. They were driven out of
Vileika, and gradually the lines were straight-
ened and stabilized so as to run almost due
south from Dvinsk by Postavy, Lake Narotch,
and Smorgon. Other factors than Ruszky’s
brilliant strategy contributed to this dra-
matic defeat of the final German effort of
the campaign to annihilate the Russian forces.
The Germans had lost in men and impetus
during their long advance. Superb though
their organization was, lengthening lines of
communication across a country ill-supplied
with roads and railways, and the necessity
of guarding against a hostile population told
upon their armies in the fighting-line. The
heaviest blow will spend itself in time against
an elusive foe, and the longest arm will find
the limit of its reach. The Germans had not
planned a march on Moscow, but they had
hoped to overrun the Russian armies and
occupy the winter quarters of their choice.
These were denied them on the Dvina, and
they had not secured the coveted Riga-Rovno
    They were indeed left farther from it
in the south than in the north. Their de-
feat east of Vilna enabled Ewarts to es-
cape from the encirclement threatened by
the advance from Kovno and Grodno; and
although he had to leave Lida and was sub-
sequently pushed behind the junction of Bara-
nowitchi, thus surrendering to the Germans
the control of the railway from Vilna to
that point, it remained in Russian hands
to Rovno. Mackensen was unable to ad-
vance from Pinsk, which he occupied on
16 September, to the railway at Luninetz,
while Ivanov reacted successfully against the
German attacks along the Kovel-Sarny line
and recovered a good deal of the ground lost
in the Volhynian triangle and eastern ex-
tremity of Galicia. Mackensen’s army may
have been weakened by calls from the north
and from the south for a campaign which
was already planned but not yet suspected;
at any rate it was too weak to achieve its ob-
jectives, the capture of Sarny, Rovno, and
Tarnopol, which would have completed the
hold of the Germans on the Vilna-Kovno
line and given them a base for a farther ad-
vance in the spring on Odessa and for the
isolation of Rumania. On 7 September, as
Mackensen’s forces were moving on Rovno
and the Sereth at Tarnopol and Trembowla,
Ivanov counter-attacked from Rovno and Brus-
silov and Lechitzky on the Sereth. By the
9th the two latter had captured 17,000 pris-
oners and a considerable number of guns;
and Ivanov followed up this success by re-
taking Lutsk and Dubno by the 23rd. Kovel
was even threatened, but the pressure was
not maintained. Sarny, Rovno, and Tarnopol
were saved, but Lutsk and Dubno reverted
to the Germans, and the line in the east was
stabilized with the Volhynian triangle and
the railway from Vilna to Rovno divided
between the antagonists.
    The success of Ruszky in the north and
of Ivanov in the south in setting a term to
the terrifying sweep of the German advance
produced a temporary optimism in Russia
comparable with that which followed the
victory on the Marne; and in neither case
did the Allies realize the extent of the ad-
vantage gained by the Germans or foresee
the years that would pass before the loss
could be recovered. The Grand Duke Nicholas
was relieved of his command and sent to
take over that in the Caucasus. He was
succeeded by the Tsar himself, who was
unlikely to interfere with the military mea-
sures of Alexeiev, his chief of staff; and the
Duma seconded the Tsar’s attempt to ex-
press the determination of the Russian peo-
ples to withstand the Germans until victory
was secured. Nevertheless, the profound ef-
fects of the Russian defeat could not be re-
moved by any laudable efforts at keeping
up appearances. It was a resounding disas-
ter which condemned Europe to three more
years of war, and Russia to a convulsion
which would permanently alter the whole
course of her history and position in the
world. Miliukov raised in the Duma the
question of responsible government, and if
the debacle of 1915 was slower than Sedan
in producing the downfall of the system to
which it was due, it was not because the dis-
aster was less, but because Russia was a less
organized country than France, and her il-
literate population reacted more slowly than
the French.
    The Russian Front
    At the moment the best face was put
on affairs; and although one correspondent
was allowed to report that the heart of the
Russian people had grown cold to the Allies
who had watched their misfortunes without
raising a finger in the shape of a serious of-
fensive to help, public opinion was fed on
the comfort in which a facile optimism is
so fertile. German casualties were multi-
plied at will, despondent diaries of individ-
ual German officers killed or captured were
given unlimited publicity, and roseate pic-
tures were painted of the colossal drain of
man-power involved in winter trench- war-
fare in Russia and in holding vast tracts of
hostile country. It was assumed that the
Germans would suffer more than the Rus-
sians, although again and again whole Rus-
sian battalions in those trenches were wiped
out by German artillery and machine guns
to which the Russians had not the where-
withal to reply except with fresh masses of
human flesh; and little was said of the mil-
lions of Russian prisoners and civilians who
were put to far more effective use in mak-
ing munitions and producing food for their
enemies than they ever had been for Russia
or themselves, and without whose labour
Germany’s man-power would have been ex-
hausted one or two years before the end
of the war. It was considered a triumph
that the Germans had not reached Petro-
grad or Moscow, but it might have been well
if they had. They had, however, no such
ambitions. Just as the reconquest of Gali-
cia had been mainly designed as providing
the base for a flank attack upon Russia, so
the conquest of Poland was to be used as
providing protection for Germany against
Russian interference with her plans in the
Balkans. Sofia and Constantinople opened
up more alluring prospects and a path that
led farther than Moscow or Petrograd; and
while public opinion in England and France
was dreaming of a repetition of 1812, public
opinion in Germany was feasting on visions
of Cairo, Baghdad, and Teheran, and the
possibility of evading the British blockade
through outlets to the Indian Ocean.
   All eyes that could see were turned to
the Dardanelles. There British troops were
making the one serious counter- offensive
to the German attack on Russia, and suc-
cess would redeem the Russian failure and
foil the hopes the Germans were building
upon their victory. The immediate future
of the Balkans, the Black Sea, and Asia Mi-
nor, and it might be the more distant future
of Egypt and the East, hung upon the is-
sue at Gallipoli. During July the reinforce-
ments for which Sir Ian Hamilton had asked
were gathering in Egypt and in Gallipoli;
and on 6 August the new plan of attack
was begun. There were to be four distinct
items; a feint was to be made of landing
north of Bulair, the attack on Krithia was
to be renewed in order to hold the Turk-
ish troops there and draw others in that di-
rection, and a similar advance was planned
for the Anzacs with a similar motive, but
also to co-operate with the real and fresh
offensive. This took the form of a landing
at Suvla Bay, the extreme north- westerly
point of the peninsula between Anzac and
Bulair. The diversions were reasonably suc-
cessful, as successful, indeed, as previous
attacks had been in those localities when
they were the principal efforts. The chief of
them was a threefold advance north-east,
east, and south-east from Anzac Cove on
Sari Bair with its highest point at Koja-
Chemen. Conspicuous gallantry was shown
in the three days’ fighting; and while, as
earlier at Krithia, the summits defied the
greatest valour, enough progress was made
in these subsidiary attacks to justify the
hope of general success if the principal ef-
fort at Suvla Bay went well (see Map, p.
    It began without any great mishap, and
General Stopford’s 9th Corps was success-
fully landed on the shores of Suvla Bay dur-
ing the night of 6-7 August and deployed
next morning in the plain without serious
resistance. The surprise had been effected,
but it would be useless unless the attack
was pressed with energy and without delay.
Yet torpor crept over the enterprise during
that torrid afternoon; many of the troops
were in action for the first time in their
lives, and, understanding that water was
obtainable from the lake close by, they had
drained their water-bottles by eight o’clock
in the morning. A thunderstorm mended
matters a little, and Chocolate Hill was car-
ried on the right. But all next day an infe-
rior Turkish force, assisted by a planned or
accidental conflagration of the scrub, man-
aged by skilful use of a screen of sharp-
shooters to hold up our advance all along
the line. Sir Ian Hamilton himself arrived
that night and strove by persuasion to in-
fuse some energy into the attack. But by
the 9th it was already too late, for the Turks
had had time to bring up reinforcements,
and an attack on the Anafarta ridge on the
10th was repulsed. Five days later General
Stopford relinquished the command of the
9th Corps, to which he had been somewhat
reluctantly appointed by Lord Kitchener,
and the 29th Division was brought up from
Cape Helles to renew the attack on 21 Au-
gust. It might have succeeded had it been
originally employed in place of the inexpe-
rienced troops; but by this time there could
be nothing but a frontal attack on a watch-
ful foe, and it ended like the similar efforts
in May and June. Some ground was gained,
contact was established with the Anzacs,
and a continuous line of six miles was se-
cured from the north of Suvla Bay to the
south of Anzac Cove. But before the Turks
could be expelled from the peninsula and
a passage cleared through the Dardanelles
there would be a long and weary struggle,
in which progress would be as slow and be-
set by as many obstacles as it was on the
Western front. Russia was to obtain no re-
lief that way; as a counter-offensive to the
German campaign of 1915, the attack on
the Dardanelles had failed; and the fail-
ure produced a deeper impression upon the
Balkans than if the attempt had never been
made. The way was clear for the next move
of German diplomacy and war.
    No one’s eyes had been more keenly trained
on the Dardanelles operations during the
spring and summer than those of Ferdinand,
King and Tsar of Bulgaria. Descended from
Orleanist Bourbons on the mother’s side
and from the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
on the father’s, he was purely Prussian in
his realpolitik, and observed no principle
in his conduct save that of aggrandizement
for his adopted country and himself. The
treaty of Bukarest in 1913 had given them
both a common and a legitimate grievance,
and the great war was welcomed in Bulgaria
as an opportunity for revenge. The means
would be the assistance Bulgaria might ren-
der to the victor, and who that might be
was a matter of indifference if he possessed
the essential qualifications of victory and in-
sensibility to the feelings of Bulgaria’s neigh-
bours and to the sanctity of scraps of paper.
This was a defect in the Entente from Fer-
dinand’s point of view. Bulgaria could with
difficulty be satisfied except by Serbian sac-
rifices which the Entente was loath to make.
The Central Empires had no scruples on
that point; but Bulgaria also wanted some-
thing from Rumania, Turkey, and Greece,
and Turkey was an ally, Rumania a neutral
whom it was not wise to offend, and Greece
had as its queen a sister of the Kaiser who
was distinctly her husband’s better half.
    The Balkans
    Serbia alone, however, had received by
the Treaty of Bukarest enough territory claimed
by Bulgaria to provide a sufficient induce-
ment for Bulgaria’s intervention in the war,
once she was persuaded that a victory of
the Central Empires would place it at their
disposal. Efforts were made by the Entente
during the summer to counteract this at-
traction by inducing Serbia to reconsider
her annexations in Macedonia. But her suc-
cesses in the autumn of 1914 had stiffened
her attitude, and in any case she could not
be expected to make that comprehensive
surrender of Macedonia which the Central
Empires were quite prepared to promise Bul-
garia. The decisive factor in the diplomatic
situation was, however, the progress of Ger-
man arms and prospects of German victory;
for it was only the victor who would have
any favours to bestow, and the course of the
war in the summer convinced the Bulgarian
Government that Germany was the horse
on which prudent people should put their
money. On 17 July a secret treaty was con-
cluded guaranteeing Bulgaria in return for
intervention the whole of Macedonia pos-
sessed by Serbia as well as an extension of
Bulgaria’s frontiers at Serbia’s expense far-
ther north. Bulgaria was also allowed to
extort a separate price from Turkey in the
shape of a strip of land along the Maritza
controlling that river and Adrianople. An
even more sinister concession to Bulgarian
exorbitance was that of Epirus, a district
assigned to Albania in 1913 but populated
by Greeks who had revolted and claimed in-
corporation in Greece. This Prussian com-
plaisance was doubtless due to the fact that
Venizelos, who had resigned owing to Con-
stantine’s opposition to his policy, had at
the Greek general election in June secured
nearly a two to one majority in the Greek
Chamber. Greece could not be allowed the
benefit of a Prussian queen when it chose
Venizelos as Prime Minister.
    The bond had been signed between the
Central Empires and their Bulgarian taskmas-
ter; but the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus
was as well understood in Bulgaria as in
Prussia, and the treaty would have remained
a scrap of paper had Russia expelled the
German invaders or Britain broken the bar-
rier at the Dardanlles. As it was, nothing
occurred in August or September to weaken
Bulgaria’s fidelity to the secret compact.
The failure of the attack at Suvla Bay was
followed by the futile routine of trench war-
fare; an equally barren result threatened
the long-prepared attacks in Artois and Cham-
pagne; and, Russia having more than enough
to do in reorganizing her shaken armies, the
Central Empires were free to turn their at-
tention southwards. Success in the Balkans
was not this time to be staked on Austrian
control, and Mackensen, whose armies in
Galicia were nearest to the scene, was nat-
urally selected to repeat in Serbia the tri-
umphs of his Galician drive. The task would
be all the easier because Serbia was a coun-
try small compared with Russia, and would,
moreover, be distracted by the coming Bul-
garian stab in the back. Her Government,
conscious of this danger, had, indeed, wished
to anticipate it by a frontal attack on Bul-
garia; but her offensive was vetoed by the
Entente. Possibly it was a case in which
moral scruples unduly weighted the scales
against military advantage. There was no
real doubt about Bulgaria’s intentions, and
she would have had no grounds for com-
plaint had Serbia attacked before Mackensen
was prepared for his part in the joint assas-
sination. The real doubt concerned the at-
titude of Greece. She was bound by treaty
to assist Serbia in that case, and Venize-
los would assuredly do his best to fulfil the
bond. But the obligation would not arise
if Serbia were the aggressor, and Venizelos
would be powerless. The fault of the En-
tente, if it was a fault, lay in the failure to
act on the presumption that Constantine
would prove as false to international obli-
gation as his imperial brother-in-law when
he invaded Belgium, and in the assumption
that the difference between Serbian aggres-
sion and defence would involve the differ-
ence between Greece being an ally and a
    The diplomatic crisis grew to a climax
as Mackensen’s forces reached the north-
ern bank of the Danube, for the arrest of
the German offensive in Russia was not en-
tirely due to German difficulties or Russian
valour and strategy, and by the middle of
August German divisions were already be-
ing diverted from the Russian front. In the
middle of September Bulgaria concluded her
compact with Turkey, and on the 19th Mack-
ensen’s batteries opened their bombardment
of Belgrade. On the 21st Venizelos asked
the Western Allies for 150,000 troops, which
were promised on the 24th, and on the 23rd
Bulgaria ordered a general mobilization and
Greece retorted in kind. Bulgaria proclaimed
her intention to observe neutrality, and when
on the 27th Serbia requested the consent of
the Allies to an offensive, it was refused.
Entente diplomatists at Sofia were still un-
der the impression that Bulgarian interven-
tion could be avoided, and a vigorous protest
by the leaders of all the Opposition parties
in the Sobranje against the Government’s
policy gave some colour to their views. But
by 10 October it became known that many
German officers were busy in consultation
with the Bulgarian Staff; on the 3rd Russia
required Bulgaria to break with the Teu-
tonic Powers, and on the 5th herself broke
off diplomatic relations. A week later the
Bulgarian Army invaded Serbia and the Bul-
garian Government declared war. Mack-
ensen had crossed the Danube on the 7th
and taken Belgrade on the 9th. On the 19th
an imperial manifesto was issued from Pet-
rograd denouncing Bulgaria’s treason to the
Slav cause and leaving the fate of the traitor
to the ”just punishment of God.” It was as-
suredly not to be inflicted by the Govern-
ment whose designs on Constantinople had
been the principal obstacle to the success
of Entente diplomacy in the Balkans. Bul-
garia did, indeed, betray the Slav to the
Teuton, but no Balkan State could view
with equanimity the prospect of being ground
to powder between the upper and nether
millstone of Russia on the Danube and on
the Dardanelles.
    Nor was Bulgaria the only traitor re-
sponsible for the Serbian tragedy. On 5
October Venizelos announced to the Greek
Chamber in no uncertain terms the inten-
tion of his ministry to draw the sword on
Serbia’s side if Bulgaria attacked. The fol-
lowing day he was summoned to the palace
and told that Constantine disapproved; he
resigned in the afternoon, and the Cham-
ber compromised its future and its coun-
try’s by supporting an alternative ministry
under Zaimis, which proclaimed its neutral-
ity and refused on 11 October the assistance
for which Serbia asked under the terms of
their alliance. Russia was willing but un-
able to help, and large threats and insignif-
icant demonstrations against the Bulgarian
coast were all she could contribute to the
protection of the little State in whose in-
terests she had entered the war. The bur-
den fell on the Western Powers who had
never contemplated it, and they were di-
vided in mind. British ships wrought ef-
fective destruction upon the Bulgarian de-
pots and communications along the Aegean
coast; but bombardment there was of lit-
tle use to Serbia, and the British General
Staff pronounced against an expedition to
Salonika. Sir Edward Carson resigned as a
protest against this inaction, while Delcass´
resigned in France because Briand was more
adventurous. Briand carried his point, suc-
ceeded Viviani as Premier, and committed
both Powers to the Salonika policy. Italy
stood aloof; her antagonism to Serbia and
Greece made her ever averse from an offen-
sive against Bulgaria.
    The Salonika expedition, which consisted
at first of troops transferred from Gallipoli,
came too late and was too weak to effect
more than a part of its purpose. It would
have been more effective had the Allies con-
sented to the Serbian proposal for an attack
on Bulgaria; for in that case the Serbian
armies would have been aligned along the
Bulgarian frontier with their right within
reach from Salonika. As it was, they faced
north towards Mackensen, and the Bulgar-
ian offensive towards Uskub took the Ser-
bians in the rear, cut their communications
with Salonika down the Vardar, and even-
tually forced a retreat into the Albanian
mountains. Serbia would in any case have
been overrun, and Mackensen’s conquest of
its northern half would have been more rapid
than it was. But the Serbian armies might
have remained intact and given a good ac-
count of themselves against both their ene-
mies in the mountain fastnesses of the south
with their retreat secured to Salonika, in-
stead of being split into two and most of
them driven, to escape as best they could
with frightful mortality along impossible tracks
towards the Adriatic.
    War and disease had reduced the Ser-
bian armies before the campaign began to
some 200,000 men, and their enemies brought
at least double that number against them.
The Serbians were, moreover, constrained
by the counsels of the Allies to preserve
what they could of their forces as a nucleus
for future resistance, and thus to stand only
so long as retreat remained open. Threat-
ened on three sides by superior numbers,
they were in an untenable position and had
a well-nigh impossible task; and only skill,
endurance, and courage brought the rem-
nants out of the death-trap laid by collusion
between the Central Empires and Bulgaria.
The campaign was for the Serbians simply
a series of rearguard actions encouraged at
first by the delusive hope that the Allies
might yet be in time. They might have
been, had they been numerous enough. The
French from Cape Helles came first, landed
at Salonika on 5-7 October, and by the 27th
had occupied the valley of the Vardar as
far north as Krivolak. They also seized the
commanding heights of Kara Hodjali north-
east of the river, and repulsed the Bulgar-
ian attempts to drive them off in the first
week of November; while to the west they
stretched out a hand towards the Serbians
defending the Babuna Pass. With adequate
forces they could have pushed beyond Ve-
les to Uskub, broken the wedge which the
Bulgarians had driven in between them and
the Serbians, restored the line of the Var-
dar, and secured the Serbian retreat.
    It was this Bulgarian stab in the back
which made havoc of the Serbian defence.
Mackensen made slow progress at first, partly
because he had no wish to drive the Ser-
bians south until the Bulgars had cut off
their retreat down the Vardar. Belgrade
did not fall until three weeks after the bom-
bardment had opened; but with the inter-
vention of the Bulgarian armies all along
the bare Serbian flank, events moved with
tragic rapidity. On 17 October the Salonika
line was pierced at Vrania, Veles fell on the
20th, and Uskub on the 21st. By the 26th
Mackensen and the Bulgarians had effected
a junction in the north and cleared the Danube
route into the Balkans. Nish fell on 5 Novem-
ber after three days’ fierce fighting, and the
Constantinople railway thus passed into en-
emy hands. In the north-west the Austri-
ans were pressing on from Ushitza down
by the Montenegrin frontier towards Mitro-
vitza, threatening to crush the Serbians on
the Kossovo plateau between them and the
Bulgars. To save the main Serbian force
and keep open a retreat through Albania, a
stand had to be made at Katchanik against
the Bulgars advancing north from Uskub.
It was successful to that extent, and when
at one moment the Serbs temporarily broke
the Bulgarian front, a junction seemed pos-
sible with the French advance from Veles.
But both Allies were too weak for the solid
Bulgarian wedge. The Serbs had to fall
back from Kossovo and the French to their
entrenched camp at Kavadar. A still nar-
rower chance intervened between the French
and the Serbs who were fighting at the Babuna
Pass to bar the way to Prilep and Monas-
tir, and at one time the French flung out
their left to within ten miles of the Ser-
bian position. But their own communica-
tions were threatened all down the narrow
line of the Vardar, and they were hopelessly
outnumbered by the Bulgarian forces. Re-
treat was the common misfortune and ne-
cessity. Prilep fell on 16 November; and
farther north, as the Serbians retreated into
Montenegro and Albania, the Austrians oc-
cupied Novi Bazar on 20 November, and
Mitrovitza and Prishtina on the 23rd. On
the 28th the Germans announced that ”with
the flight of the scanty remnants of the Ser-
bian army into the Albanian mountains our
main operations are closed.”
    There was something still for the Bul-
gars to do. Pursuing the Serbians in re-
treat from the Babuna Pass they reached
the Greek frontier and cut the railway be-
tween Salonika and Monastir at Kenali on
29 November, and on 5 December occu-
pied Monastir itself. The Greek frontier
was a feeble protection, and the French at
Kavadar were threatened with encirclement
on their left. Kavadar had to be evacuated
and a retreat secured by hard fighting at
Demir Kapu. Simultaneously the British
holding the front towards Lake Doiran were
severely attacked, and on 6-7 December had
1300 casualties and lost 8 guns. But the
enemy failed to cut off the retreat, and by
the 12th both the French and British forces
were on Greek territory fortifying a mag-
nificent position which stretched from the
mouth of the Vardar round to the Gulf of
Orphano and enclosed the Chalchidice penin-
sula. Strong measures had to be taken to
ensure the safety of Salonika with its cos-
mopolitan population, and the enemy hoped
for its fall in January. But there was great
reluctance to attack lines which were daily
growing more formidable and were held by
troops that were being gradually reinforced.
Bulgarian ambition was also restrained by
German counsels, for even Constantine and
his new and pusillanimous premier, Skouloudis,
might resent the occupation of Salonika by
their hereditary rivals, and the Kaiser trusted
more to family and diplomatic influence at
Athens than to Bulgarian valour. The Ger-
mans themselves were more intent on con-
solidating the Berlin-Constantinople corri-
dor and their hold upon the Turks than
on Salonika, which fell within the Austrian
sphere of influence, and might thus, if taken,
become an apple of discord between its cap-
     Austria had to content herself with do-
minion along the eastern shores of the Adri-
atic. The conquest of Serbia had left Mon-
tenegro an unprotected oasis surrounded by
enemy territory; and Italy, which alone might
have defended the Black Mountain, was un-
able or disinclined to make the effort. Lovtchen
fell on 10 January, and the Austrians occu-
pied Cettinje three days later. The Ger-
mans announced the unconditional surren-
der of the country, and some sort of capitu-
lation was made by some sort of Montene-
grins. But King Nicholas escaped to Italy
and thence to France, while the greater part
of his army made their way south to Scutari
to join the Serbians who had retreated to
the Adriatic coast. An Italian force marched
up from Avlona to Durazzo to protect them,
and Essad Pasha, a pro-Entente Albanian
who had established a principality of his
own on the fall of the Prince of Wied, ren-
dered useful assistance. Eventually about
130,000 Serbian troops were transported to
safety across the Adriatic, while the Serbian
Government was provided with a home at
Corfu in spite of the protests of the Greek
administration. Save for neutral Greece and
Rumania, the Italian foothold at Avlona
and ours at Gallipoli, the whole of the Balkans
had passed into the enemy’s hands; for Es-
sad’s rule was as brief as it was circum-
scribed, and the Italians withdrew from Du-
razzo as the Austrians advanced to the south-
ern frontier of Albania, and menaced Greek
territory far beyond the reach of protection
from Salonika.
   While Greece and Rumania seemed to
depend for their existence upon the forbear-
ance of the Central Empires, our foothold in
Gallipoli was even more precarious, and the
first use the Germans made of their corridor
to Constantinople was to furnish the Turks
with howitzers designed to blow our forces
off the peninsula. In October Sir Charles
Monro had been sent out to take over the
command from Sir lan Hamilton and report
on the situation. His report, which, ow-
ing to the singular relations then existing
between someone in the Government and
the press, was known to selected journalists
within a few hours of its reception in Lon-
don, was in favour of evacuation. The Cab-
inet was not prepared to accept that deci-
sion without further advice, and dispatched
Lord Kitchener to make a survey of the po-
litical and military situation in the Ægean
on the spot. He confirmed Monro’s opinion;
and in spite of the damage to our reputa-
tion and the losses which it was thought
such an operation would inevitably involve,
orders were given for a complete withdrawal
from the Gallipoli Peninsula.
    Some of the forces had already been trans-
ferred to Salonika, and the evacuation was
to be completed in two stages, the first at
Suvla Bay and Anzac and the last at Cape
Helles. Success depended upon weather suit-
able for embarkation and skill in organiz-
ing transport and concealing our intentions
from the enemy. No one dared to hope
for so complete a co-operation of these fac-
tors as that which characterized the enter-
prise on 18-19 December. The weather was
ideal in spite of the season, an attack from
Cape Helles diverted the attention of the
Turks, and the whole force at Suvla Bay
and Anzac was embarked during two suc-
cessive nights with only a single casualty.
Marvellous as this success appeared, its rep-
etition at Cape Helles on 7-8 January was
even more extraordinary, although a Turk-
ish attack on the 7th threatened to develop
into that rearguard action which had been
considered almost inevitable. But it was a
mere incident in trench warfare, and they
were as blind to our real intentions at Cape
Helles as they had been three weeks before
at Suvla Bay and Anzac– unless, indeed,
with true Oriental passivity, they were con-
tent to see us leave their land in peace and
had no mind to seek a triumph of destruc-
tion which would inure to the benefit of
their uncongenial allies.
    The brilliant success of the withdrawal
from the Dardanelles provided some solace
for the failure of the campaign, but did noth-
ing to relieve from responsibility those who
had designed its inception and directed its
earlier course; and a Commission, which
was appointed in the following summer, pro-
duced on 8th March 1917 an interim re-
port which threw a vivid but partial and
biased light not only on the Dardanelles
campaign, but on the governmental orga-
nization which was responsible for the fail-
ures as well as the successes of the British
Empire during the greater part of the war.
Both were largely the outcome of that au-
tocracy in war with which popular senti-
ment and the popular press had invested
Lord Kitchener. It swallowed up everything
else: the Cabinet left the war to the War
Council and the War Council to a triumvi-
rate consisting of Mr. Asquith, Lord Kitch-
ener, and Mr. Churchill; but of these the
greatest was Lord Kitchener. ”All-powerful,
imperturbable, and reserved,” said Mr. Churchill,
”he dominated absolutely our counsels at
this time.... He was the sole mouthpiece
of War Office opinion in the War Coun-
cil.... When he gave a decision it was invari-
ably accepted as final.” He occupied, in the
words of the Report, ”a position such as has
probably never been held by any previous
Secretary of State for War,” though it can-
not compare with the elder Pitt’s in 1757-
61. Oriental experience had not improved
his qualifications for the post; secretiveness,
testified the Secretary of the War Council,
made him reluctant to communicate mili-
tary information even to his colleagues on
the Council; the General Staff sank into in-
significance, and the regulations prescrib-
ing the duties of its Chief were treated as
non-existent. Mr. Churchill was debarred
from a similar dictatorship at the Admi-
ralty mainly because he was not a seaman
and had Lord Fisher as his professional men-
tor; while Mr. Asquith busied himself with
keeping the peace between his two obtru-
sive colleagues, neither of whom expressed
the considered views of the Services they
   Thus the Dardanelles campaign was less
an active expression of policy or strategy
than the passive result of conflicting influ-
ences and opinions. As early as November
1914 Mr. Churchill had suggested an at-
tack there or elsewhere on the Turkish coast
as a means of protecting Egypt, but the
idea was not seriously considered until on
2 January 1915 an urgent request was re-
ceived from Russia for some diversion to re-
lieve the Turkish pressure in the Caucasus.
There was a corresponding need to deter
Bulgaria from casting in her lot with the
Central Empires, and on 13 January the
War Council resolved upon the ”prepara-
tion” of a naval attack on the Dardanelles.
Its members were in some doubt as to what
was meant by their resolution. Lord Fisher
was averse from the scheme because he pre-
ferred another sphere of action, possibly the
Baltic or Zeebrugge, with which Jellicoe’s
mind was also occupied; and he hoped that
preparation did not involve execution. Lord
Kitchener warmly supported the idea of a
naval attack, but most of his colleagues as-
sumed that the operation would automat-
ically become amphibious and involve the
army as well; at any rate this impression
was clearly stamped on their’ minds after
the purely naval attack had failed. Lord
Kitchener, however, was strongly opposed
to military cooperation; a great advantage
of a purely naval attack was, he thought,
that it could be abandoned at any moment,
and he maintained that he had no troops
to spare. Meanwhile Russia enthusiastically
welcomed the notion, France concurred, and
Mr. Churchill had secured an uncertain
amount of naval backing for an expedition,
the nature of which was not defined. But
Lord Fisher grew more pronounced in his
opposition, and when on 28 January the
War Council proceeded from preparation to
execution, he accepted the decision with a
reluctance that nearly drove him to resign.
     No sooner, however, had the War Coun-
cil decided on a purely naval expedition than
it found itself involved in an amphibious en-
terprise. ”We drifted,” said the Director of
Military Operations, ”into the big military
attack”; and on 16 February it was resolved
to send out the 29th Division and to rein-
force it with troops from Egypt. The naval
bombardment did not begin till three days
later, and therefore it was no naval failure
that produced this resolution; it was rather
an unconscious reversion to the Council’s
original idea which had been dropped out
of deference to Lord Kitchener. The same
influence delayed the execution of the plan
of 16 February: the 29th Division was to
have started on the 22nd, but on the 20th
it was countermanded by Lord Kitchener.
Animated discussions ensued at the War
Council on the 24th and 26th, but Lord
Kitchener could not overcome his anxieties
on the score of home defence and the West-
ern front, and the Council yielded to his
pressure. It was not till 10 March that
the ill-success of the naval attack, advices
from officers on the spot, and reassurances
about the situation nearer home overcame
the reluctance to dispatch the 29th division
and other forces under Sir Ian Hamilton.
Lord Kitchener now desired haste, and com-
plained that 14 April, the date suggested by
Hamilton, would be too late for the military
attack. It was not found practicable un-
til the 25th, and according to Enver Pasha
the delay enabled the Turks thoroughly to
fortify the Peninsula and to equip it with
over 200 Austrian Skoda guns. Enver’s fur-
ther statement that the navy could have got
through unaided, although it agreed with
Mr. Churchill’s opinion, is more doubtful.
Out of the sixteen vessels employed to force
the Dardanelles by 23 March, seven had
been sunk or otherwise put out of action.
   The same hesitation that characterized
the inception of the military attack marked
its prosecution, and forces which might have
been adequate at an earlier stage were in-
sufficient to break down the defences which
delay enabled the Turks to organize. Never-
theless the enterprise might have succeeded
but for errors of judgment in its execution,
notably at Suvla Bay; and success would
have buried in oblivion the mistakes of the
campaign and its initiation just as it has
done similar miscalculations in scores of prece-
dents in history. There were, moreover, vi-
tal causes of failure which could not be can-
vassed at the time or even alleged in mitiga-
tion by the Commission of Inquiry; and the
publication of its report on 8 March 1917,
without the evidence on which it was based
or reference to these other causes, was a
masterpiece of political strategy designed to
concentrate the odium of failure on those
who were only responsible in part and to
preclude their return to political power. Of
these hidden causes there were two in par-
ticular: one the possibly justifiable refusal
of Greece to lend her army to the scheme
when a comparatively small military force
might have been sufficient, and the other
the far more culpable failure of Russia to co-
operate with the 100,000 troops which were
to have been landed at Midia and would
have either found the northern approaches
to Constantinople almost undefended or have
diverted enough Turkish forces from the Dar-
danelles to give the southern attack a rea-
sonable prospect of success. As it was, the
British Empire had to content itself with
the idea that 120,000 military casualties,
apart from the French and the naval losses–
which might have bought the downfall of
Turkey shortened the war by a year at least,
and saved a greater number of lives–had the
minor effect of immobilizing 300,000 Turks
and facilitating the defence of Egypt and
the conquest of Mesopotamia and Syria.
   The failure of the larger hope was a blow
to the ”Easterners” who discerned in the
Dardanelles the strategic key to victory in
the war and expected to turn the argument
against divergent operations by pointing to
a converging advance from the Balkans upon
the Central Empires. But the ”Western-
ers,” who maintained that the war could be
won and could only be won in France and
Belgium, were not much happier at the end
of 1915. The British and French commands
alike had subordinated the Dardanelles and
Salonika expeditions to the needs of an au-
tumn offensive on the West; and the argu-
ment between the two schools of thought
is narrowed down, so far as the autumn of
1915 is concerned, to the question whether
the troops we lost in September and Octo-
ber at Loos and in Champagne might not
have been more effectively employed at the
Dardanelles or Salonika. That they were
not needed for defence in the West is ob-
vious, since the line was held in spite of
their loss. They were, in fact, mortgaged to
an offensive which produced less strategical
effect than the casualties in the East; for
without the Salonika expedition, at least,
Greece would have fallen completely under
German dominion, and our control of the
Ægean and our communications with Egypt
would have been seriously imperilled. The
controversy was an idle one so far as it was
conducted on abstract principles, because
war is an art in which success depends upon
changing conditions which dictate one sort
of strategy at one time and another at an-
other. There were times when neglect of
the West would have been fatal; there were
others at which neglect of the East was al-
most as disastrous, and the autumn of 1915
belonged to the latter rather than to the
former category. Neglect of the East would,
indeed, have been not merely excusable but
an imperative duty, had the situation in the
West been what it was in the autumn of
1914 or spring of 1918. But there was no
such necessity in September 1915: troops
were not then withheld from the East to
defend our lines in the West against a Ger-
man offensive, but to take the offensive our-
selves; and illusory hopes of success were
based upon the known inferiority of Ger-
man numbers in France due to their con-
centration in Russia.
    The Entente advantage in bayonets on
the Western front was between three and
four to two, and it also had the ampler re-
serves. Sir John French commanded nearly
a million men and General Joffre more than
double that number, while our advantage in
guns and munitions was not less marked;
an almost unlimited supply of shells had
been accumulated during the summer, and
the new Creusot howitzers outdid the mon-
sters from Essen and Skoda. Thirty fresh
miles of French front had been taken over
by the British, but it was not continuous.
Plumer’s Second and Haig’s First armies
still held the line from Ypres to south of La
Bass´e, but D’Urbal’s Tenth French army
intervened between Haig and the new Third
British army which stretched from Arras to
the Somme. It was not, however, along the
British front but in Champagne that the
main attack was planned. The objective
was Vouziers, and the design was to break
the German communications from east to
west along the Aisne and thus compel an
extensive retreat from the angle of the Ger-
man front on the Oise and the Somme. If
the subsidiary attack on the British front
also succeeded, the Germans would suffer
disaster and be compelled to evacuate much
of the ground they held in France (see Map,
p. 67).
    A desultory bombardment of the whole
front had begun early in the month, and
on the 23rd a more intense fire, designed
to obliterate the first line of German de-
fences, opened from La Bass´e to Arras and
in Champagne. On the 25th the infantry
attacked in high hopes and high spirits: for
months, declared Joffre in his order of the
day, we had been increasing our strength
and our resources while the enemy had been
consuming his, and the hour had come for
victory. The striking force was Langle de
Cary’s Fourth Army, and the front of at-
tack ran for fifteen miles from Auberive to
Massiges. The bombardment had been ef-
fective and the ´lan of French, and partic-
ularly Marchand’s colonial troops, carried
most of the German first and parts of their
second line of defence, and thousands of
prisoners and scores of guns fell into their
hands. But victory was not in this Western
warfare of the twentieth century won in a
day, and the morrow of a successful attack,
which used to be fatal to the defeated, was
now more trying to the victors. Instead of
their well-protected lines they had to lie in
the open or in the blasted trenches of the
enemy, and from thence to attack a second
and a third line of defences not less strong
than the first, but less battered by bom-
bardment. The second French effort, made
on the 29th, was less successful than the
first; some more prisoners and guns were
taken, and a breach was made in the second
line, but it was too narrow for the cavalry
to penetrate. A third French attack on 6
October secured the village and Butte de
Tahure which commanded the Bazancourt-
Challerange railway, the first of the lateral
lines of communication which it had been
the object of the campaign to break; and
later in the month the French made some lo-
cal progress in other parts of the front. But
on 30 October German counter-attacks, which
had failed elsewhere, succeeded in recaptur-
ing the Butte de Tahure and recovering the
use of the railway; and while the French
had advanced on a front of fifteen miles to
a depth of two and a half in places, the net
result of the great attack was to leave them
without appreciable advantage save in the
disputable respect of greater German losses
and the withdrawal of some divisions from
the Russian front.
    The subsidiary attacks between Ypres
to Arras produced the same general kind
of result. They extended almost continu-
ously all along the line, but except to the
north and south of Lens do not appear to
have been designed to do more than pre-
vent the opposing troops from being sent
to reinforce the defence against the main
offensive. For this purpose they were per-
haps needlessly aggressive, for each resulted
in the capture of ground which could not be
held, and the forces engaged in these local
enterprises were badly needed to clinch the
nearly successful major operation. Later on
in the war it was found that enemy troops
could be contained along the line without
such numerous and expensive precaution-
ary attacks, and possibly these were really
intended not so much to contain the enemy
as to test his line with the idea of finding
some weak spot which might be pierced.
None of them succeeded to that extent, though
Bellewarde was temporarily taken in front
of Ypres, Le Bridoux redoubt in front of
Bois Grenier, the slopes of the Aubers ridge,
and some trenches near La Bass´e. Thee
last operation, if more force had been put
into it, might have secured La Bass´e and
done more to convert the battle of Loos into
a substantial victory than could ever have
been achieved by a series of local successes
farther north.
    That battle was the principal British ef-
fort, and it only fell short of a real victory
because the reserves were not on the spot
to follow up the initial success which might
almost seem to have surprised the higher
command. The front extended from the La
Bass´e Canal to the outskirts of Lens, and
as in Champagne the attack on 25 Septem-
ber was preceded by an intense bombard-
ment which destroyed the first German trenches
and wire-entanglements. Nearly everywhere
the advance was at first successful. The Ho-
henzollern redoubt was captured, the Lens-
La Bass´e road was crossed, and even Haisnes
and Hulluch reached. But the greatest suc-
cess was farthest south, where the village of
Loos was rushed by the 15th Division and
then Hill 70. Even there the Highlanders
would not stop, but went on impetuously as
far as the Cit´ St. Auguste, well outflanking
Lens and past the hindmost of the German
lines. This was all by 9.30 a.m., within four
hours of the first attack. But there were no
reserves at hand to consolidate the victory
and hold up the German counter-attacks.
There were plenty miles away in the rear,
retained by Sir John French because along
the extended line of attack from Ypres to
Lens it was not known where they would
most be needed; and even when the need
was clear, interrupted telephones and de-
fective staff-work caused confusion and de-
lay. Eventually the 11th Corps fresh from
England and to fighting was marched eight
miles and put into the battle line without
sufficient food or water. Gradually our troops
were pushed back from Hill 70, across the
Lens-La Bass´e road, and out of the Ho-
henzollern redoubt. The line was restored
to some extent by the Guards on the 27th,
and Loos remained firmly in our hands; but
a great opportunity had been lost, and the
great stroke of the 15th Division had not
been turned into a great advance. Lens
had been almost in our grasp, and with it
a lever to loosen the German hold on Lille
(see Map, p. 79).
    The fault was partly due to the fact that
D’Urbal’s simultaneous offensive south of
Lens had fallen short of the Vimy Ridge
and left our right flank almost in the air in
front of Grenay where the two lines joined.
D’Urbal’s army was, like our own, greatly
superior in numbers to the Germans oppo-
site, seventeen to nine Divisions, and the
French artillery preparation for the attack
on 25 September was equally elaborate. Un-
happily the French offensive did not begin
till one o’clock, three hours after the High-
landers had swarmed over Hill 70 and into
Cit´ St. Auguste; and when it did begin, its
left, where it joined the British right, was
held up in front of Souchez till the following
day, and the Germans used the interval to
recover from the staggering blow they had
received at Loos. On the 26th the French
were more successful. Souchez, most of the
Givenchy Wood, La Folie farm, and Thelus
were captured, and on the 28th they made
some progress up the Vimy slopes. The
impression of success exceeded the reality,
and a historian writing some months after-
wards declared that by the 29th ”the Vimy
Heights had been won”: it required a con-
siderable Canadian victory a year and a half
later to give much substance to this claim,
and most of the ground secured in Septem-
ber 1915, including the Givenchy Wood, La
Folie, and Thelus, was found to be in Ger-
man hands when the line from Lens to Ar-
ras was taken over by British troops.
    Attacks and counter-attacks, particularly
round the Hohenzollern redoubt, during Oc-
tober led to little but slaughter, and the
line in the West relapsed into winter sta-
bility and stagnation where they had been
a year before with changes which only a
large-scale map revealed. There had been
at least 120,000 French casualties and more
than 50,000 British; each side claimed that
the enemy’s losses far exceeded its own, and
there was probably little to choose. A fort-
night’s battle in the West cost the Allies
as much as nine months in the Dardanelles,
though in the former it was the French and
in the latter the British who bore the brunt.
The optimism of the civilians with regard
to the Dardanelles was capped by the op-
timism of the soldiers on the Western front;
and neither was in a position to throw stones
at the strategy of the other. Mr. Churchill
disappeared from the Admiralty in May and
from the Cabinet in October, and Sir John
French lost his command of the British forces
in December. His ostensible cheerfulness
had been useful in the early days of shock
and stress; but the part had been somewhat
overdone in public and underdone in pri-
vate, and it was becoming clearer, though
not yet sufficiently clear, that brilliant cav-
alry generalship was not the quality most
required to control the gigantic machinery
of a modern army. Nevertheless, the crit-
icisms that were levelled against the inep-
titude and mental inelasticity of the gener-
als and the staff of the old army overshot
the mark. No one ventured to bring such a
charge against the staff-work of the French,
and yet the French had been no more suc-
cessful in Champagne than we had been in
Artois. The truth was that no generalship
could have given the Entente victory over
the Germans in 1915. The war was con-
stantly and correctly described as a soldiers’
war or a war of nations, but the meaning of
the description was not fully realized. The
Entente had to deal with a mighty people,
splendidly organized and equipped for war,
and against that colossal force mere gener-
alship was like a sort of legerdemain pit-
ted against an avalanche. The only power
that could cope with the Germans was that
of people similarly determined and equally
trained and organized, and the only way in
which they could be defeated was by ex-
haustion. Individual skill in modern poli-
tics and war tells mainly in matters of per-
sonal rivalry; it is our aristocratic quality
which breaks its head in vain against the
stolid mass of democratic forces. The sin-
gle people in the long run beats the single
man, and the community of nations over-
comes the rebel State.
    So far the rebel had succeeded because
he took the world by storm and by sur-
prise. The Germans in 1915 had played a
skilful game and won. They had calculated
that their line in the West could be held
by inferior forces against any attacks the
Entente could launch against it, while they
broke the strength of Russia and overran
the Balkans; and their calculations proved
correct. It is conceivable that they might
have done better to concentrate in 1915 as
in 1914 against the Western Powers, but it
is more probable that here, too, they were
wise in their military conceit. The offensive
that had failed in 1914 when British forces
were a hundred thousand without munitions
to correspond, would hardly have succeeded
when they had grown to a million; and ne-
glect of the East might well have meant in-
vasion by Russia, the collapse of Austria,
Czecho-Slovak and Jugo-Slav revolts, the
defeat of Turkey, and the intervention of
Rumania and Bulgaria on the Entente side.
More could hardly have been achieved by
Germany with the resources at her disposal;
but she had not won the war. She had won
a respite from defeat, as she was to do again
in 1916 and in 1917, and her successes en-
abled her to postpone the reckoning from
1916 to 1918. But it was a fatal reprieve
which she only used to weave her winding-
sheet; and her efforts to snatch a German
peace out of the transient balance of power,
which her victories had set up, involved her
in that fight to a finish with civilization
which made her an outcast in disgrace as
well as in defeat.
    The failure of the Entente offensives in
the Dardanelles and in France had at last
convinced the public of the truth of Lord
Kitchener’s prophecy, that the war would
be long if it was to result in a German de-
feat. Obstinate optimists had in 1914 be-
lieved in a victory before the first Christ-
mas, while more reasonable critics hoped
for one by the end of the following year.
When the second Christmas came round
the date of triumph had been postponed for
another year or two, and few expected that
it would arrive much before the end of the
three years’ term Lord Kitchener had sug-
gested, or come at all unless greater efforts
were made than had hitherto been the case.
The magnificent response to the call for vol-
untary enlistment in 1914 had confirmed
the traditional English view in favour of
volunteers; between two and three million
men had been raised by this method, either
as members of the new army or as Terri-
torials who freely surrendered their privi-
lege of being called upon to serve for home
defence alone; and it was but slowly that
the nation was constrained to abandon the
voluntary principle for that system of con-
scription which savoured so strongly of the
militarism we were out to fight. But the
Russian disasters and the failure of our of-
fensives in the spring warned the Govern-
ment of the advisability of at least prepar-
ing for other measures, and an Act had been
passed for a national registration on 15 Au-
gust of all males between the ages of 15 and
65. The autumn confirmed the foreboding
of spring, and on 5 October Lord Derby un-
dertook on behalf of the Government a re-
cruiting campaign by which those who had
not enlisted were induced to do so on the
condition that they would not be compelled
to serve before those who had feebler claims
to exemption.
    This campaign failed to produce the com-
prehensive results required, and at Christ-
mas the Government took the plunge of propos-
ing conscription for all unmarried men un-
der the age of forty-two who were physi-
cally fit, and whose enlistment was not pre-
cluded by the national importance of their
occupation or the onerous nature of their
domestic liabilities. Even this measure of
conscription was found inadequate by the
following spring, and in May 1916 the ex-
emption of married men was cancelled, and
a general system of conscription on the con-
tinental model was introduced. Both mea-
sures were passed by large majorities, and
encountered no organized opposition in the
country. A few hundreds of conscientious
objectors preferred to be treated as crim-
inals rather than contribute in any way to
the shedding of blood even in the defence of
their country and themselves; and only the
baser among their fellow-men attributed to
them any worse motive than impractical ide-
alism. The example of the mother-country
was subsequently followed, with more lib-
eral exemptions, by New Zealand and the
Dominion of Canada; but Australia, which
had long enjoyed compulsory military ser-
vice for home defence, and was the only
country in which the issue had to be sub-
mitted to a referendum, twice rejected the
extension of the principle of compulsion to
service outside the borders of the Common-
wealth. The Channel Islands, which also
had compulsion for their own insular de-
fence, were equally loath to expand the idea,
and Ireland was for political and some logi-
cal reasons exempted from the scope of the
British Act; the Home Rule Bill had been
placed on the statute-book, though its oper-
ation had been suspended, and it was thought
as politic to allow her as it was to allow the
Dominions to make her own decision.
    In other matters than conscription Great
Britain was slowly and reluctantly constrained
to follow the German lead until the whole
country became a controlled establishment;
and a series of Defence of the Realm Acts
deprived Englishmen of nearly all those lib-
erties which they had regarded for centuries
as proofs of their superior wisdom, but were
now found to be merely the accidents of
their past insular security. Freedom of the
press, of speech, and even of private cor-
respondence was subjected to censorship,
and there was not in the whole range of our
indictments against foreign autocracy one
charge which might not with some colour
be brought against ourselves. Fear entered
once more into the English mind, and fear
produced its invariable results, until prece-
dents for what was done in the twentieth
century had to be sought in the worst days
of the Star Chamber, Titus Oates, and Judge
Jeffreys. Once more, when the panic reached
its height during the spring of 1918, British
subjects were deprived of liberty without
due process of law and by arbitrary tribunals
sitting behind closed doors; once more we
reverted to the old maxim of Roman law
and the everlasting plea of despots, salus
populi suprema lex, and learnt to practise
ourselves the precepts we scorned in oth-
ers. Liberty and even law were found to be
luxuries in which war made us too poor to
indulge. Truth itself was made tongue-tied
to authority and became the handmaid of
the State. To save ourselves and the world
from barbarism we had to descend to the
barbarous level of our foes, and poison-gas
and the killing and starvation of women and
children were developed into effective meth-
ods of warfare. It was all done in the name
of humanity; for to shorten the war was the
humanest course, and the shortest way was
that of the greatest destruction. The means
of destruction were developed at a prodi-
gious rate, and England became a vast lab-
oratory of death. War for the time was our
only industry, and all who could be spared
from the actual work of killing were pressed
into the task of providing the weapons, the
food, and the education for those on more
active service.
    Germany set the pace both in efficiency
and in cruelty, and her success in 1915 con-
vinced her that she could defy the moral
scruples of mankind with impunity. Noth-
ing save verbal protests had followed the
sinking of the Lusitania, and even those had
led Mr. Bryan, President Wilson’s Secre-
tary of State, to resign for fear lest they
might prove too strong. That crime was
accordingly succeeded by others, and fur-
ther American lives were lost by the torpe-
doing of the Arabic on 19 August, the An-
cona on 7 November, and the Persia on 30
December. The unneutral conduct of Dr.
Dumba, the Austro-Hungarian ambassador
in the United States, did, however, precipi-
tate a demand for his recall; and American
relations grew far more strained with Aus-
tria than with her more powerful and per-
nicious partner. For the moment President
Wilson seemed more concerned with Great
Britain’s disrespect for American trade than
with Germany’s disrespect for American lives,
and put forward a claim to be regarded
as the champion of neutrality which con-
trasted oddly with his inaction a year be-
fore when Belgian neutrality was at stake.
No one, however, could boast of consistency
during the war, and President Wilson atoned
for his earlier tenderness towards neutral
rights by fathering in the end a league of
nations which would abolish neutrality al-
together. No doubt, his somewhat censo-
rious protests against the British blockade
and the methods of its enforcement were
primarily intended for domestic consump-
tion, and even then their effect was severely
discounted by the growing tale of German
outrage; the world at large was in no mood
to listen to the laments of profiteers when
its ears were tingling with the story of Edith
Cavell’s execution. She was an English nurse
in Belgium who had tended with impartial-
ity German and Belgian wounded; but she
had facilitated the escape of some of the lat-
ter, and the Germans allowed no feeling of
chivalry or humanity to interfere with the
barbarous logic of their martial law. On 12
October, in spite of the efforts of Ameri-
can diplomacy and the horror of the civi-
lized world, she was shot by order of a Ger-
man court martial confirmed by the Ger-
man military governor of Belgium. There
were many heroines in the war, but none
achieved a surer fame, because no one’s fate
exhibited in a clearer light the spirit with
which humanity was at grips.
    It was to the credit of humanity that
this single outrage produced a greater hor-
ror than the German Zeppelin campaign,
which reached its height in the winter and
affected a large proportion of the civilian
population. It was an extension of the pol-
icy of the Scarborough raids, and while it
could be justified on the ambiguous and
contradictory provisions of The Hague Con-
vention, which exposed to the risk of bom-
bardment any locality containing soldiers,
munitions, or material for war, or means
for military transport, its object was mainly
to terrorize the civilian population; and the
Zeppelin, in particular, was an engine of
war which could not discriminate between
legitimate and other objects of attack. This
disability also applied to the aeroplane, and
there was something very childish in the
persistent assumptions that Entente air-raids
were not only exclusively aimed at, but in-
variably successful in achieving military damage–
even when the French boasted of having on
22 September dropped thirty bombs on the
King of W¨rttemburg’s palace at Stuttgart–
and that the Germans always projected civil-
ian destruction and never succeeded in ef-
fecting anything else. It was part of that
delirium of wartime psychology, which in-
duces all belligerents to believe that no one
but an enemy ever commits atrocities, and
no one but an ally is capable of virtue.
    The possibility of air-raids had long been
foreseen, and as early as the first October
of the war the lights of London had been
dimmed. The first attempt by Zeppelins
was made on Norfolk on 19 January 1915
without any loss of life or appreciable loss of
property. More damage was done to prop-
erty by a second raid on 14 April directed
against the Tyne, and four more were made
in April on various parts along the East
Coast. On 10 May a woman was killed and
some houses demolished at Southend, and
on the 31st the Zeppelins first reached Lon-
don to the great delight of the German peo-
ple. The East and North-east coasts were
repeatedly raided in June, and by the end
of the first year of war, 89 civilians had been
killed and 220 injured, while possibly half
a dozen Zeppelins had suffered destruction
in the various theatres of war. One was de-
stroyed by Lieutenant Warneford’s mono-
plane in Belgium on 7 June, but none fell
victims to anti- aircraft defences in Eng-
land. The raids became more serious as the
nights grew darker: on 7 September 20 were
killed and 86 injured in London, and on
13 October 56 were killed and 114 injured.
Bad weather produced a respite in Novem-
ber and December, but on 31 January 1916
the north Midlands had 67 killed and 117
injured, and in March and April similar ca-
sualties attended raids on the Lowlands of
Scotland and the East Coast from Yorkshire
to Kent. France suffered as well as England,
but the Germans took a peculiar pleasure
in the English raids, because they thought
Zeppelins were the only means of bringing
home to the English people the realities of
    Air-raids were, however, one of the hor-
rors of war rather than a means of achiev-
ing victory, and the military importance of
aircraft never attained proportions corre-
sponding to the space the subject occupied
in the public press and the popular mind.
They did not affect the duration of the war
by a single day, and throughout the win-
ter of 1915-16 it seemed to increase in hor-
ror without any other sort of progression on
land or water. There was no naval action
because Germany kept her fleet in harbour,
and relied upon mines and submarines to
wear down not so much the naval strength
as the economic resources of the Allies. Oc-
casionally a cruiser or smaller vessel was
lost, and one pre- Dreadnought battleship,
the Edward VII. But German successes were
mostly scored against merchant vessels and
similar craft; and our activities in the Balkans,
coupled with the facilities afforded by the
Aegean to submarines, made the Eastern
Mediterranean a favourite scene for their
operations. By the end of 1915 over a thou-
sand vessels, Allied and neutral, of one sort
or another, had been put out of action by
mines and submarines; but the fact that few
of them had any fighting value concealed
the importance of their economic loss from
the eyes of the public if not of the Gov-
ernment itself. A more legitimate and ro-
mantic form of depredation was the cruise
of the Moewe, a disguised auxiliary cruiser,
which succeeded in January and February
1916 in capturing fifteen British merchant-
men in the Atlantic, and returned safe to
Kiel with prisoners and booty. The ab-
sence of German commerce made British
retaliation impossible except in the Baltic,
where our submarines had some remarkable
successes until Sweden closed the entrance
by mining her territorial waters. She was
within her rights in doing so, but the effect
of her action was to give German commerce
in the Baltic a security which was lacking
to the commerce of the world outside, be-
cause Holland and Denmark shrank from
following Sweden’s example. Mr. Balfour
pointed out the unfriendly nature of Swe-
den’s action, but Russia was particularly
averse from adding Sweden to her enemies
at that juncture, and remonstrances were
in vain.
    On land the most active spheres of oper-
ation were in winter naturally in the tropi-
cal or sub-tropical regions. The East African
campaign still hung fire owing to various
causes, principally perhaps because of doubts
and possibly disputes whether it belonged
primarily to the sphere of purely British, In-
dian, or South African activity, and could
best be fought with the different kinds of
troops those various Governments had at
their disposal. The earlier operations had
been undertaken mainly by troops from In-
dia, and for a year longer there was lit-
tle but border fighting until in March 1916
General Smuts arrived with South African
forces to begin the serious work of conquest.
The principal work of the winter was the
reduction of the Cameroons. Considerable
progress had been made by June in overrun-
ning this vast territory, half as large again
as the German Empire in Europe: the French
had occupied Lome from the south, while
the British, after some checks on the Nige-
rian frontier, had advanced to Ngaundere.
The rainy season then set in, and opera-
tions were suspended until October. The
Germans had transferred their capital to
Yaunde, which was made the objective of
converging attacks by British, French, and
Belgian columns from north, east, and south.
The British reached it on 1 January 1916,
but the movements had been admirably timed,
and the French came three days later. Only
isolated posts in distant localities remained,
and the last of them fell on 18 February.
    From Egypt the Turks had been diverted,
since their defeat in February 1915, by the
attack on the Dardanelles; but the German
advance in the Balkans had synchronized
with attempts to disturb us on the west-
ern borders of Egypt by German and Turk-
ish intrigues with the Senussi federation of
Moslem tribes, and in Tripoli, which the
Italians had never succeeded in completely
subjugating. Trouble began to threaten in
November 1915, and the frontier post at
Sollum was withdrawn to Mersa Matruh,
the terminus of a railway line from Alexan-
dria. The Arab attacks began on 13 De-
cember and increased in strength until the
middle of January 1916; but with their in-
ferior equipment and means of communi-
cation they had little chance of success and
were easily beaten off with considerable losses,
which led to dissension among the Arab
forces and then to their dissipation. They
were finally defeated at Agagia on 26 Febru-
ary, and Sollum was regained on 14 March.
There was no further trouble on the west-
ern frontier of Egypt, and a repercussion
of the Senussi discontent far south in Dar-
fur was satisfactorily suppressed by a de-
tachment of the Egyptian Army which oc-
cupied El Fasher on 22 May. East of the
Suez Canal there were only raids in which
we were generally successful, except for the
loss of Katia on 23 April; in retaliation El
Arish was destroyed by bombardment from
British monitors on 18 May.
    In Egypt we stood and were still to stand
for another year upon the defensive; but far-
ther east in Mesopotamia we were slipping
into an adventurous and chequered offen-
sive which grew insensibly after the manner
of the Dardanelles campaign. Our original
operations at the head of the Persian Gulf
had, indeed, unlike the attack on Gallipoli,
been defensive in their purpose; but the dis-
tinction between the two easily disappears
in military operations, and the Germans
were only more logical militarists than other
people when they openly avowed that of-
fence was the best means of defence. British
dominion in India and in Egypt had grown
upon that principle, and it grew in much
the same way in Mesopotamia. The se-
curity of our control of the Persian Gulf
required, we discovered, the occupation of
Basra; the defence of Basra demanded an
advance to Kurna, and from Kurna we had
proceeded in June to Amara. There we re-
alized that our left flank might be turned
at Nasiriyeh, and having got both Amara
and Nasiriyeh, one on the Tigris and the
other at the junction of the Euphrates with
the Shatt-el-Hai (which links the Euphrates
with the Tigris at Kut), we concluded that
our position would be improved if, by seiz-
ing Kut, we could bar a Turkish advance
down either the Tigris or the Shatt-el-Hai.
The logic was sound enough for those who
had the means to enforce it; and in spite
of the torrid heat, the river route and our
gun- boats enabled us to master Nasiriyeh
on 25 July. Early in August began the ad-
vance up the Tigris from Amara to Kut,
whither the Turks had retired. They had
been well taught by their German instruc-
tors, and their position astride the river was
well entrenched. But Townshend’s attack
was skilfully planned; feinting on the Turk-
ish right on 27 September, he outflanked
and drove in their left on the 28th, and at
the end of a long day disposed of the Turk-
ish reinforcements and entered Kut on the
    The campaigning season was only about
to begin; the Turks had decamped in disor-
ganization towards Baghdad; and the temp-
tation to follow proved irresistible. When
so much had been done with such ease, it
seemed to be flying in the face of Provi-
dence not to make a dash for Baghdad and
seize the end of that railway-route on which
the Germans were beginning to work with
such energy from the other direction in the
Balkans. If it led from Berlin to Bagh-
dad, might it not also lead from Baghdad
to Berlin? There was assuredly a touch
of fantastic imagination in the transforma-
tion which first came over and then over-
came our strategy in the East, and we found
that the transition from defence to offence
was slight compared with the change from a
sound to a speculative offensive. Kut might
be essential to the defence of the delta, but
if Baghdad was needed for the protection of
Kut, there was no limit east of the Bosporus
to which the line and the logic of defence
might not be pushed. The argument might
have been sound, had it reposed on a firmer
foundation of force. But the impetus and
the organization which had carried us to
Kut would be spent before we reached Bagh-
dad; and arrangements for transport, com-
missariat, and medical aid, which might have
served for the lesser needs and the shorter
lines of communication, broke down in utter
confusion under the demands of the larger
ambition which they had not been planned
to fulfil. We had but 13,000 bayonets, two-
thirds of whom were Indian troops, while
the Turks could call up reserves many times
that number; and our men were worn with
ten months’ incessant campaigning under a
tropical sun. General Townshend protested
against the adventure, but was overruled by
Sir John Nixon and the Commander- in-
chief in India.
    Within a week from the fall of Kut the
advance on Baghdad began, and at Azizie
half-way between the two, the Turks were
routed again as they had been at Kut. By
12 November, Townshend was in front of
Ctesiphon, about twenty-four miles from Bagh-
dad. Here the Turks were strongly entrenched.
Their right was protected by the Mahmudiyeh
Canal which ran from the Tigris to the Eu-
phrates, and their main position consisted
of two strongly fortified lines on the east-
ern bank of the Tigris. Townshend’s attack
on the 22nd resembled his attack on Kut,
and after hard fighting the first line was car-
ried. But the second was the real Turkish
defence, and our wearied and smaller forces
could not cope with the continuous stream
of Turkish reinforcements. The Turks lost
heavily in their counterattacks on the 23rd,
but they could afford to do so, while we
could only succeed by a speedy and inex-
pensive victory which the strength of the
Turkish position and reinforcements forbade.
The gamble had failed, and the only thing
to do was to cut the loss and retreat as
well as we could. No proper provision had
been made for such an eventuality, and the
horrors of that retirement reflected grave
discredit on those responsible for the cam-
paign. Hard pressed by the pursuing Turks,
our diminished force was back at Kut on
3 December, where in a few days it was
surrounded by the enemy now under the
command of the German Marshal von der
    The Germans had not been idle on the
flanks of this bid for Baghdad, and their in-
trigues in Persia led to a revolt of the gen-
darmerie, which was officered by Swedes,
and to the seizure by the pro-German insur-
gents of Kum, Hamadan, and other towns
in central Persia. Fortunately this move
was countered by prompt action on the part
of Russia. Teheran was occupied by Rus-
sian forces by the end of November, Kum
and Hamadan by 11 December, and a pro-
Entente Government was established. The
German route through Persia towards Afghanistan
was blocked for the time; but pro-German
forces at Kermanshah impeded a Russian
march to the relief of Kut, where a fresh
Turkish division from Gallipoli arrived on
23 December and a vigorous effort was made
to carry the place by assault. It failed, and
the Turks sat down to a blockade, while far-
ther south they constructed formidable ob-
stacles to the advance of the relieving forces
coming up the river. Their position was
selected with considerable skill at Sanna-i-
Yat on a narrow strip of land between the
Suweicha marshes and the river, while be-
tween it and Kut there was established the
strongly-fortified Es Sinn line. The depth of
these defences was nearly twenty-five miles,
and the task of carrying the successive lines
would tax anything but a relieving force far
greater than that which was attempting it.
    Sir John Nixon had been succeeded by
Sir Percy Lake, but the advancing force was
under the immediate command of General
Aylmer. On 21 January he failed to carry
the first of the lines at Umm-el-Hanna, al-
though it was announced in Parliament that
British forces had reached the last position
at Es Sinn; and it was not till 7-8 March
that Aylmer made a bold attempt at once
to turn the Sanna-i-Yat defences and re-
lieve Kut by a surprise attack on the right
bank of the river. Everything depended
once more upon initial success, for length of
communications and lack of supplies made
continuous pressure impossible; and the Turks
were ready and their defences strong. Aylmer
was no more fortunate at Es Sinn than Town-
shend at Ctesiphon, and the command was
taken by General Gorringe. He reverted
on 5 April to the lines on the left bank
at Umm-el-Hanna. They were carried, and
twelve hours later the further line at Fe-
lahiyeh. Keary’s Lahore division had been
equally successful on the right bank; but a
flood caused by the melting snows on the
Armenian hills interposed to bar the way
to the relief of Kut. A final attempt was
made on the 23rd across the water-logged
land in front of Sanna-i-Yat; but advance
was impossible along the narrow causeway
which alone gave foothold for the troops,
and on the 29th Townshend’s force in Kut,
consisting of 2000 British and 6000 Indian
troops, surrendered after a siege of nearly
five months.
   After Gallipoli, Mesopotamia. Until March
1918 our reverses in these two ”side-shows”
were counted our worst disasters in the war,
and to the electorally-heated imagination
of Mr. Lloyd George they appeared even
later as the sum and substance of British
achievement before he became Prime Min-
ister. In the case of Kut the responsibil-
ity rested mainly with the Indian Govern-
ment, to which also was due our brilliant re-
covery in the East when Lord Chelmsford,
Sir Charles Monro, and Sir Stanley Maude–
all appointed in 1916–had time to retrieve
the mistakes of their predecessors in the
Viceroyalty, Command-in-chief of the In-
dian Army, and command of the Mesopotamian
forces. Meanwhile, it was fortunate for the
prestige of the Entente in the East that
Russia’s collapse in Europe appeared to have
no effect upon the vigour of her action in
the middle East. The Grand Duke Nicholas,
who had been transferred to the command
in the Caucasus, found an admirable chief
of staff in General Yudenitch, and between
them they brought off a stroke against Turkey
which was more sensational than the Turks’
success at Kut and Gallipoli.
    Erzerum was reckoned the strongest fortress
in the Turkish Empire, but amid the dis-
tractions of the Dardanelles and Mesopotamian
campaigns it had escaped proper attention
from the Turks and their German experts,
and the Grand Duke profited by the fact
that Turkish troops, relieved from the pres-
sure at Gallipoli, were sent to Kut and not
to the Caucasus. Moreover, the ordinary
line of communication with Erzerum by the
sea and Trebizond had been cut by the Rus-
sian destruction of Turkish shipping, and
transport by land was almost as difficult
as it was between the head of the Persian
Gulf and Kut. The Russian communica-
tions were better, but theirs was an adven-
turous enterprise across mountain passes un-
der the arctic conditions of midwinter; and
few people had any inkling of its inception
when Yudenitch began to move on 11 Jan-
uary. By the 16th he was at Kuprikeui
where the road crosses the Araxes, and in a
two days’ battle he broke the Turkish army,
driving its remnants south towards Mush
and clearing the way to Erzerum. Time
was required to bring up the heavy guns,
but early in February the forts on Deve
Boyun were under bombardment, and an-
other Russian army advancing from the north
down the valley of the Kara Su defeated a
Turkish division and captured Kara Gubek
on the 12th and Tafta on the 14th. From
the south the Russians were also crossing
the Palantuken Dagh, and the fate of Erzerum
was sealed. Its evacuation was completed
early on the 16th, and a few hours later the
Cossacks rode into the city. To the south
the Russian left entered Mush and Bitlis,
gaining the northern shores of Lake Van,
while their right slowly pushed along the
Black Sea coast in the direction of Trebi-
zond. In Persia, too, the Russians occu-
pied Kermanshah and descended the pass
to Khanikin and the Mesopotamian plain;
but it was an adventurous body of cavalry
rather than a substantial military force which
joined hands with the British on the Tigris
some weeks after the fall of Kut. The Rus-
sians had to some extent redeemed their
failure in Europe, but others they had not
been able to save.
    The Caucasus
    In Europe their defence was materially
assisted by the British and French attacks
in Artois and Champagne and by the needs
of Mackensen’s offensive in the Balkans. To
both areas troops were diverted from the
German front in Russia, and the centre was
especially denuded. No advantage was, how-
ever, taken of this weakness, partly because
of Russia’s general debility and partly be-
cause what efforts she could afford were re-
quired for the defence of the Dvina and for
the sympathetic activity of Ivanov in Gali-
cia, which was the nearest approach Russia
could make to intervention in the Balkans.
The German attack on the line of the Dvina
was not merely intended to fend off a Rus-
sian attack in the centre; it had also the
positive aim of securing Riga and comfort-
able winter quarters for the German army
in the north. Riga, however, was not an
easy nut to crack; its flank was defended
by the sea, immediately south of it were
marshes across which only causeways ran,
and to the east stretched the formidable ob-
stacle of the Dvina. Roads and rails for
the most part crossed it at Dvinsk, and
the southern approaches to Dvinsk itself lay
through land and water as intricately mixed
as in the Masurian mazes of East Prussia.
But on Dvinsk the German attack was con-
centrated, and after a preliminary failure on
25 September a week’s bombardment and
assault began on 3 October. The siege guns
which had been so fatal at Kovno and else-
where were brought up against a minor fortress
and failed. Ruszky was in command, and he
took care to keep the howitzers out of range
of the city by an arc of far-flung trenches
which the numerous scattered lakes saved
from outflanking. Illukst was at one time
taken by the Germans but found of little
value for the larger purpose; and German
prisoners complained that Dvinsk, which they
failed to take, had cost them more than all
the greater fortresses they had captured.
In the third week of October Hindenburg
transferred his efforts back to Riga, where
he met with little better success. He got
as far as Olai on the direct route from Mi-
tau, and even secured a foothold on Dahlen
Island in the river south-east of Riga; but
these successes profited him no more than
the capture of Illukst. On 7 November the
Russians recaptured Olai, and on the 10th,
with the help of their fleet, drove back the
Germans, who had advanced along the coast,
beyond Shlock and Kemmern and Kish, ex-
tending their lines to Ragassem and Kalnzem.
In the same month a similar Russian counter-
offensive recaptured Illutsk and pushed the
Germans farther away from Dvinsk (see Map,
p. 274).
    Far to the south below the Pripet marshes
which divided the Russian front into two,
the Germans and the Russians under Brus-
silov engaged in thrust and counter-thrust
along the Styr which caused Czartorysk to
change hands again and again, and earned
for these operations the nickname of ”the
Poliesian quadrille”; and the fluctuations
on the Strypa were equally indecisive. But
the situation in the Balkans suggested the
need for something less ambiguous nearer
the Rumanian frontier if Rumanian neu-
trality was to be preserved; and the ob-
jective selected for Ivanov’s new offensive
was Czernowitz the capital of the Bukov-
ina. The attack began on 24 December,
and the struggle lasted for over three weeks.
Containing battles were fought along the
Strypa and the Styr, and Czartorysk passed
once more into Russian hands and Kolki
was added to their gains. But the main ob-
ject was not attained. The Russians seized
the heights between Toporoutz and Rarancze
and threw some shells into Czernowitz, but
they failed to capture the crucial point at
Uscieczko on the Dniester. Mackensen and
five divisions had, however, to be diverted
from the Balkans, and Russia’s offensive in
the Bukovina helped to conceal her designs
on Erzerum. Rumania was saved from de-
scending on the wrong side of the fence; but
her natural reluctance to abandon her perch
prohibited that Russian attack on Bulgaria
through Rumanian territory which might
otherwise have been made, but would prob-
ably have failed and would in any case have
come too late to relieve the Serbian disas-
     The winter of 1915-16 thus passed with
little to relieve the gloom. Erzerum had
balanced Kut, and the Cameroons had ceased
to be a German land. But these were tri-
fles compared to the gigantic clash of arms
in Europe, and here the Germans had done
more than in their first year’s fighting. Rus-
sia had been dealt a far more staggering
blow than France in 1914, and Serbia and
Montenegro had fared worse than Belgium,
while in both East and West our counter-
offensives had been ineffectual. The Ger-
mans naturally thought they had won the
war; they had merely reached the climax of
their success, and that climax did not con-
stitute a victory. The Allies’ heads were
”bloody but unbowed,” and they were still
the masters of their fate. The sea was theirs
and all that therein lay; some of them were
only in process of mobilizing their resources;
and the moral factor in war which, like the
mills of God grinds slowly but grinds ex-
ceeding small, required patience for its full
development. Meanwhile the German mil-
itary machine had done no more than es-
tablish a balance of power which was to be
tilted in one direction by the Russian Rev-
olution and then in the other by American
    It was a commonplace of the old diplo-
macy that the most effective way to de-
ceive a rival diplomatist was to tell him the
truth, and similar conditions enabled the
Germans to delude the British public if not
the British Government, so general was the
conviction that the Germans would not or
could not say anything that was not false.
This simple-minded attitude towards our
enemies made it easy for them to combine
virtue with efficiency, and German states-
men were at times singularly candid in the
estimates they published of the situation.
One of these truthful pictures was drawn by
the German Chancellor in December 1915
when he pointed out that it was not in Ger-
many’s thoughts or interests to seek further
conquests for her arms: the more territory
they conquered, the thinner would be their
lines and the greater the difficulty of main-
taining them. But patriotic imagination de-
tected behind this apparent frankness a de-
sign to conquer Egypt and India, or at least
to dominate the Persian Gulf, and averted
attention from the probability that it im-
plied a desire to substitute a solid decision
in the West for territorial speculation in
the East. Nothing, indeed, was more cer-
tain than that Germany, having temporar-
ily freed herself and her allies from danger
in the East, would recall her attention to
these enemies in the West by whose defeat
alone could she hope to win the war; and
before the end of 1915 there were rumours
of the transport of German guns and troops
from the East to the Western front.
    It was also reasonably certain that the
new offensive would not follow the lines of
the old, and that, whatever form it took, it
would not be a repetition of the attempt to
outmarch the Allied left and crush a British
force which had grown from a hundred thou-
sand to over a million bayonets. Time was
also to show that no subsequent German
offensive could hope to achieve the kind of
success that had been missed on the Marne.
The German ambition had in 1914 been to
annihilate the French and British armies
and dictate a victorious peace. In 1916 such
a triumph was out of the question. In spite
of her victories, Germany had been reduced
to the defensive, and her future offensives
were merely means to prolong her defence,
to anticipate and frustrate the attacks of
her enemies, and wring an advantageous
peace out of the defeat of their attempts to
drive her from the territorial conquests she
had made. The height of her expectations
was to show that her fronts were impreg-
nable East and West, and that the Allies
could not compel, but could only purchase
German evacuation of the occupied ground
by accepting the surrender of such tracts
and other terms as Germany chose to con-
cede. She was really in the position she pre-
tended to have been before the war broke
out of having to attack in order to maintain
what she held; and if she began, it would
not be for the purpose of breaking and en-
veloping the Allied armies, but to preclude
their offensive and improve and strengthen
her own position. She was, in fact, belea-
guered, her attacks were really sallies, and
her hope was to keep the besiegers at such
a distance that they could make no impres-
sion upon the heart of her economic and
military situation.
    The battles of Verdun therefore bear no
resemblance to the Western campaign of
1914 or the Eastern campaign of 1915. They
were limited to a narrow area, and involved
but a fraction of the German forces, while
the bulk even of those in the West was dis-
tributed along the other sectors of the front.
They were fought partly to deprive the French
of what the Germans regarded as a ”sally-
port” into Germany, and partly to antici-
pate in detail that general pressure on all
fronts which the Germans dreaded as the
Allied strategy for 1916. At last, they feared,
there was really co-ordination in the En-
tente, and there might be such a synchro-
nizing of its offensives that Germany, in spite
of her interior lines, would be unable to
transfer the weight of her forces from one
threatened point to another. Her strategy
in the spring was to forestall this compre-
hensive danger. By an attack on Verdun in
February the French and the British might
be provoked into a premature movement
before their allies were ready; Italy’s threat-
ened advance might be paralysed by a thrust
at its flank in May; and both Western dan-
gers might thus be parried before Russia
was ready to move once more in the sum-
mer. The excellence of Germany’s trans-
port organization would enable her, in spite
of her numerical inferiority, to bring ade-
quate if not superior forces to repel attacks
which depended for success upon their be-
ing simultaneous.
    It was, however, incumbent on Germany
to prevent her defensive offensives from com-
bining the major costs of an offensive with
the minor advantages produced by a de-
fence; and economy in the waste of man-
power was becoming urgent. Hence her at-
tacks must be on a more limited front than
those of the Allies in September, and resis-
tance must be overcome rather by artillery
than by infantry charges. The guns were to
do at Verdun what they had achieved on the
Dunajec, but there is little to show that the
Germans expected to repeat in France their
drives of the year before in Galicia and in
Poland. The Entente lines in France were
stronger and less thinly held than the longer
lines in the East, and while they might be
pushed back from a salient like Verdun, it
was not imagined that they could be broken
and rolled up as they might have been in
1914. Eighteen months of war had set limits
to German ambition which were admitted
in counsel and conversation though not al-
lowed to appear in print; and the strategy of
1916 was not one which the Germans would
have chosen had their choice been free, but
the best they could devise under the condi-
tions imposed upon them by their situation.
It was not until Russia had completely col-
lapsed that they recovered for the moment
in the spring of 1918 that freedom from fear
on the Eastern front which enabled them to
resume the action with which they started
the war and put all their strength into a
final and real offensive in the West.
    While throughout the winter the Allies
were congratulating themselves upon the in-
feriority of German shelling in the West and
innocently vaunting a superior expenditure
of ammunition, which made no more im-
pression on the German lines than the en-
emy’s shelling did on ours, the Germans
were reserving their fire and accumulating
shells for more effective use; and in addi-
tion to their artillery, they had recovered
the advantage in respect of aircraft. Hith-
erto we had done better than the Germans
in the fighting, as distinguished from the
raiding, in the air, not so much because our
machines were better and certainly not be-
cause they were more numerous, but be-
cause in the air youthful ingenuity and dar-
ing had its chance unfettered by the re-
straining and depressing hand of regimental
mediocrity; and where machine-made dis-
cipline was at a discount, youth and en-
terprise were at a premium. This general
rule was subject to exceptions caused by
the ding-dong race of scientific invention,
and for the moment the Germans had in
their Fokker an aeroplane of decisive supe-
riority. They began to appear in increasing
numbers above and behind our lines, and
to secure some of those advantages in re-
connaisance which transferred to aircraft in
this war the functions performed in earlier
wars by cavalry. The Germans were able
to concentrate at Verdun with their minds
easier about the rest of their front when
their aircraft could detect any signs of an
approaching offensive elsewhere.
    They also succeeded in concealing their
own intentions; for while there were pre-
monitory symptoms which had given some
French officers an inkling of what was com-
ing, adequate preparations had not been
made for the storm at Verdun, and atten-
tion had been distracted by German feints
at other points of the line. These attacks
were made on both the British and French
sectors. The taking and retaking of Hart-
mannsweilerkopf went on with a frequency
that was all the more confusing because each
side only published its successes. On 28
January the Germans made a successful at-
tack on the French near Frise on the Somme
and pushed back their lines towards Braye
on a two-mile front; but they were less for-
tunate in their simultaneous effort against
Carnoy, where the British had just taken
over that part of the front previously held
by the 10th French Army and extending
thence to the north of Arras. Probably
the Germans imagined that this extension
had weakened our lines at Ypres; and on 8
February they began a bombardment which
developed into a fierce struggle for Hooge
and The Bluff on the Ypres-Commines Canal.
The ground lost was mostly recovered by
counter-attacks on 2 and 27 March and 3
April, but it could not all be held against
further German attacks later in the month.
Similarly some gains on the Vimy Ridge in
the middle of May were lost again on the
21st, and early in June the Germans thrust
us back behind Hooge. But these attacks
and others along the front were merely feints
designed to conceal the German prepara-
tions against Verdun, and to prevent the
Allied forces from concentrating on its de-
fence after the plan had been revealed.
    Verdun was selected for attack because
its proximity to the German frontier made
it dangerous in the hands of the enemy, and
also made it easier for the Germans to con-
centrate on its attack the masses of artillery
with which they proposed to do the fight-
ing, while its salience hampered the French
lines of communication. There were three
lines of defence. The outermost ran in an
arc nine miles from Verdun round in front of
Malancourt, B´thincourt, Forges, Brabant,
Ornes, Fromezey, and Fresnes; the second
was some three miles nearer in, and the
third ran by Bras, Douaumont, Vaux, and
Eix. The danger consisted in the facts that
the outer lines were thinly held by Territo-
rials and the inner lines had not been prop-
erly fortified; for the French, unequalled in
the ´lan of attack, never developed that pa-
tient and meticulous preparation for defence
which stood the Germans in good stead,
and always found it easier to visualize at-
tacks than to materialize defences. Ver-
dun, having survived the epidemic so fa-
tal to fortresses in 1914, was treated as im-
mune from serious danger in 1916. If, there-
fore, the Germans could batter to pieces
the first position, the rest might easily fall,
and they came dangerously near to fulfill-
ing their hopes of reaching Verdun in four
    At seven o’clock on the morning of Mon-
day, 21 February, there burst forth on the
centre of the front a heavier bombardment
than any before experienced. The French
defences were obliterated, and five hours
later the Germans walked into possession.
A counter-attack checked their progress in
the afternoon, and the flanks of the French
centre held out at Brabant and Herbebois
throughout that day and the next. But the
depression in the centre created a salient
on either side, and the French could only
fight desperate rearguard actions while the
line was straightened out; by Wednesday
morning they were back on a line running
due east from Samogneux. But the Ger-
man pressure on the centre was renewed
and the French were pressed back to Beau-
mont and the Bois des Fosses. Ornes on the
east and Samogneux on the west had to be
abandoned, and on the 24th the Germans
were threatening the centre of the last of the
French lines of defence at Louvemont and
Hill 347. Only a desperate rally enabled the
French to keep their front intact while their
left was withdrawn from Champneuville and
Talou hill to Vacherauville and the Poivre
hill, and their right from Bezonvaux and
the Bois des Cauri`res to the Douaumont
plateau. On the 25th the Germans launched
what they thought was their final attack
in the battle for Verdun, and before night-
fall the news was telegraphed to Berlin that
Fort Douaumont, the key of the last line of
defence, had fallen.
     It was a natural but unrealized anticipa-
tion. Eighteen German divisions were pit-
ted against the worn and weary remnants
of the original French defenders, and the
Brandenburgers had captured the fort. But
its ruins were merely a detail in the Douau-
mont position. To the east the French held
the redoubt and to the west the village of
Douaumont; and instead of carrying the plateau
the Germans had been checked on its sum-
mit. Their other main attack had fared
even worse on the Poivre hill to the west;
and although Louvemont and Hill 347 had
been carried in the centre, the fifth day
of the battle closed with the Germans be-
hind instead of beyond the real defences of
the city they had hoped to reach in four.
On that day, too, P´tain arrived to take
over the command, and he was followed by
reinforcements. On the morrow a furious
counter-attack drove the Germans out of
the greater part of Fort Douaumont and
back to the northern edge of the plateau,
and the crisis of the first surprise had passed.
The battle continued, but the fact that it
spread eastwards round to Eix and Man-
heulles showed that the concentrated thrust
at the centre had failed; and the shorten-
ing of the French curve round by Fromezey,
Etain, Buzy, and Fresnes to a straight line
running from Vaux to Les Eparges strength-
ened rather than weakened the defence.
    The Germans now shifted their ground
of attack from the east to the west of the
Meuse, and on 2 March a four days’ bom-
bardment began of the Malancourt-Forges
line. They sought to conceal their change
of plan by renewing the struggle for Douau-
mont, but on 6 March they drove the French
from Forges and Regn´ville back to their
real defences on the ridge behind, of which
the Mort Homme (Hill 295) was the crest,
and Hills 304 and 265 its western and east-
ern supports. Their first attack was on the
eastern sector of this front, and by night-
fall they had gained Hill 265 and penetrated
into the Bois des Corbeaux which stretched
between it and Mort Homme. The struggle
continued throughout the 7th and 8th, but
on the 9th-11th the Germans varied it by re-
verting to the east bank of the Meuse and
making a costly but unsuccessful attempt
to outflank Douaumont by capturing Vaux,
Damloup, Eix, and Manheulles. This di-
version did not slacken the pressure on the
west bank of the Meuse, and the French
were forced back from the Bois des Cor-
beaux to the Bois de Cumi`res; on 14 March
the Germans made a great bid for Mort
Homme, and Berlin announced its capture.
But they had only taken its north-eastern
slopes, and on the 17th they sought a fresh
approach from the west by means of a con-
verging attack from Avocourt and Malan-
court on Hill 304. The bombardment lasted
until the 20th, when the Germans forced
their way through Avocourt wood. They
were driven back by a counter-attack on
the 29th, but Malancourt fell on the 31st,
and the French further withdrew from Hau-
court. On 2 April the Germans also suc-
ceeded in driving an awkward wedge into
the Bois de la Caillette between Vaux and
Douaumont, but Mangin thrust it back on
the following day.
    There was yet another struggle for Mort
Homme. On 7 April the French had evac-
uated their salient at B´thincourt and re-
formed their front on a straight line run-
ning just north of Mort Homme. On the
9th the Germans, having failed in their lo-
cal attacks, attempted a general movement
against the whole front west of the Meuse.
The battle raged for three days, and at one
time the Germans penetrated into Cumi`res;
but they were driven back by the French ar-
tillery, and the general assault, in spite of
its carnage, produced no greater gain for
the Germans than a ravine on the edge of
the Poivre hill. From that date the first bat-
tle of Verdun died away amid local efforts
along the lines east and west of the Meuse.
But the Germans were still obstinately wed-
ded to their scheme of exhausting France
before the time came for a general Allied
offensive; and they felt that they could not
cut their losses and acquiesce in the blow to
their prestige and to the credit of the Crown
Prince. A respite, however was needed for
the reorganization of the command and the
re-formation of the armies shattered in the
fruitless attacks and it was not until 3 May
that the Germans were ready to begin the
second battle of Verdun.
    This time it opened on the west bank of
the Meuse, and Mort Homme was as be-
fore the obstacle and the objective. Af-
ter two days’ bombardment the Germans
gained some trenches north of Hill 304, and
on the 7th they attacked it on three sides
and compelled the French to abandon the
crest. This reduced Mort Homme to a dif-
ficult salient, and after a few days’ lull the
Germans gained the summit on 21 May by
an expenditure of man-power out of all pro-
portion to the value of the result. By the
24th they had secured what was left of Cumi`res
at a similar cost, and the French line ran
straight from Avocourt in front of Esnes
and Chattancourt to the Meuse. On the
east bank the onslaught was no less furi-
ous, and on 7 May the Germans drove the
French out of Douaumont fort and down the
road towards Fleury. Mangin recovered the
greater part of Douaumont on the 22nd, but
German reinforcements took it again on the
24th, and on the 25th pushed on by Hau-
dromont wood and Thiaumont farm, out-
flanking Vaux on the west. Further progress
was made in the following days, and on
1 June the fall of Damloup uncovered the
eastern flank of the Vaux position. The fort
itself made a marvellous resistance under
Major Raynal, and held out till the 6th.
    There was a lull for four days, but on
the 11th the struggle recommenced with the
Germans only four miles from Verdun. It
raged chiefly on the slopes of Froideterre
and round the village of Fleury close by,
and the climax came on the 23rd. On that
day the Germans got into Fleury and were
driven out; on the 24th they were in again,
but on the 30th the French recovered Thi-
aumont and neutralized the German advan-
tage. On the morrow the Western front
was aflame with the battle of the Somme.
Verdun had done its work and taken its
wages. The struggle flickered on; Fleury
changed hands again in July and August,
and so did Thiaumont. But the attack had
lost its vital importance and the decisive
scene had shifted to the west where the Ger-
mans and not the French were on the de-
fensive. P´tain and then Nivelle, who suc-
ceeded him in April, had held the fort till
the appointed time; and their heroic troops
had made their name and that of Verdun a
possession for ever. Falkenhayn, who had
taken Moltke’s place as chief of the Ger-
man Staff and was responsible for the Ger-
man strategy at Verdun, was removed to
another sphere of activity; but the Germans
themselves were right when they attributed
failure less to their own defects than to the
valour of their foes. These, they exclaimed,
were not the French they had met at Sedan
in 1870. They were not. Then, they were
the soldiers of an Emperor who went to
war with the cry ”to Berlin” on their lips.
Now, they were the soldiers of a democratic
Republic fighting for home and freedom, a
fragment of the eternal soul of France.
    The Attack On Verdun
    The central act of the German offensive
thus closed with defeat at Verdun; there
were two others, one fought in the Alps and
the other on the sea. The Italian campaigns
were never more than subsidiary operations
in the war, for it was not until 27 August
1916 that Italy declared war on Germany,
and the number of German divisions on the
Italian front was never more than six. Even
to Austria Russia was the dangerous foe,
and Italian strategy threatened at worst no
more than the temporary loss of Trieste, a
trifle compared with that of Galicia. For
the difficulties of the terrain, jealousy be-
tween Italians and Jugo-Slavs, and Italy’s
lack of the industrial means for equipping a
sufficiently formidable army, put it beyond
her power to threaten any vital spot in the
Hapsburg dominions. Italy, moreover, had
not entered the war with the same motives
or same unanimity as the other Powers, and
her army at the front was not the same em-
bodiment of national strength and spirit.
The Austrian offensive in May was there-
fore due rather to the temptations held out
by the weakness of the Italian flank than
to any urgent necessity of defence against
the projected Italian advance. Neverthe-
less the Italian plains were always seduc-
tive, and it would obviously be convenient
to dispose of the Italian threat before Aus-
tria had again to face the serious menace
of Russian invasion; and an attack on the
Asiago plateau was Austria’s natural con-
tribution to the general German plan of an-
ticipating in detail the combined Entente
offensive (see Map, p. 298).
    The first year of the Austro-Italian war
had seen no real impression made on Aus-
tria’s mountain defences, and even in the
valley of the Isonzo Gorizia still forbade an
Italian advance on Trieste. The Italian line
was the worst possible for defence, and it
depended for its security upon the fact that
the bulk of the Austrian forces were involved
in Russia and in the Balkans. The front
was on the Isonzo, but a flank of over 200
miles invited a thrust down one of the vari-
ous passes towards Venice which, if success-
ful, would cause the whole front to collapse
like a pack of cards; and marvellous though
the feats of Italian valour and mechanical
ingenuity had been in the mountain fight-
ing throughout the winter, they had not
wrested the passes from Austria’s hands.
The attack was preceded by a bombard-
ment which began on 14 May, and the scene
selected lay on a line drawn from Trent to
Venice through the Sette Communi, Posina,
and Pasubio. The flanks held fairly firm,
but the centre gave way, and on the 20th-
24th the line was withdrawn on the left to
Posina and Pasubio. Things were no better
in the Sette Communi on the right, but west
of Pasubio the Italians stopped the Aus-
trian advance in the pass of Buole on 30
May. On the same day, however, they had
to evacuate Arsiero and Asiago, south of the
Sette Communi. But by now Cadorna had
got his reinforcements, and on 3 June he
announced that the Austrian offensive was
checked. The attack was, however, renewed
on the 13th, and the Austrians advanced
to within four miles of Valstagna and the
railway running down the Brenta valley to
Padua. They got no farther, and before the
end of June Cadorna began his counter- of-
fensive. By that time the thoughts of the
Austrians and most of their troops were
elsewhere; and just as the German cam-
paign at Verdun was ruined by the Entente
offensive on the Somme, the Austrian ad-
vance from the Trentino was stopped by
the Russian attack in the East. In the first
week of June Brussilov had gone through
the Austrian lines like brown paper at Lutsk
and Dubno.
    The third German offensive was on the
sea, but no operation in the war remains
more obscure with regard to its motives,
conduct, and importance than the battle of
Jutland; a century passed before Nelson’s
tactics at Trafalgar were made clear, and a
long period may have to elapse before there
is any solution of the problems surrounding
the great naval battle of modern times. The
British admiral in command has expressed
his considered opinion that the meeting of
the German and British fleets on 30 May
was an accident; but assuredly it was not
by accident that the whole naval forces of
Germany were on that day outside their
accustomed harbours, and they could not
have been brought into action against their
own consent. There was some motive in
that unusual appearance, and the motives
of strategy are to be found in the condi-
tions of policy. That Germany needed a
victory in 1916 is obvious from her persis-
tence, despite the gravest losses, in the Ver-
dun campaign; but if she needed one over
France, she needed one yet more sorely over
Britain; and if it was worth while losing one
or two hundred thousand men at Verdun, it
was worth while taking considerable risks
at sea on the chance of frustrating British
participation in the coming offensive on the
   Deliverance from the nightmare of a com-
bined Entente offensive was but a part of
the fruits which would follow from a Ger-
man victory at sea. It would probably de-
cide the issue of the war at a single blow.
Germany had, of course, known all along
that the Entente depended absolutely for
success upon Great Britain’s command of
the sea; but it was not easy to shake that
command, and so long as there seemed a
prospect of winning the war by other means,
the frightful risks of a naval battle would
be avoided. By the spring of 1916 those
other means were receding beyond the re-
gion of hope or possibility. Russia was re-
pairing her arms; Great Britain was making
stupendous preparations; France had with-
stood the shock of Verdun; and the hopes
which Germany built on discontent in Ire-
land, her intrigues with Irish prisoners of
war, and the escapades of Sir Roger Case-
ment, crumbled after the insurrection which
broke out in Dublin in April. The autumn
promised a sere and yellow leaf to the Ger-
man High Command. Nor did this dark-
ened European vista exhaust the clouds on
the horizon. After the torpedoing of the
Sussex on 24 March President Wilson had
extorted from the German Government a
pledge not to sink without warning mer-
chant vessels found inside or outside the war
zone which the Germans had proclaimed
in February, and had refused to accept the
condition they sought to attach to the pledge,
that he would require corresponding pledges
from Great Britain to observe the ”freedom
of the seas.” Tirpitz had been dismissed to
give verisimilitude to Germany’s new virtue;
but she had no intention of keeping her pledge
any longer than was convenient, or aban-
doning any reasonable prospect of bring-
ing us to our knees by a submarine cam-
paign, and she knew that its effective ex-
tension would provoke American interven-
tion. Such intervention would, however, be
negligible if in the meantime Britain’s Fleet
had been crippled and her control of the sea
    A successful naval battle might there-
fore not only impair British participation
but preclude that of the United States. Oth-
erwise the two together would dissipate any
lingering German hopes of victory; and the
imminence of the danger counselled the tak-
ing of risks which had hitherto been eschewed.
But the results of a naval defeat are not
risked if they are likely to prove fatal, un-
less there is some chance of success; and
Germany had some grounds for hope un-
der both these heads. A fleet which flees
is little better than no fleet at all, and for
two years Germany had put up with British
command of the seas. The destruction of
her battle- fleet would no doubt depress her
people, but it would not seriously interfere
with her submarine campaign, and on land
the war would go on as it had done. Still,
the existence of the German Fleet was a
factor in the moral of the German people;
and the Government would not have risked
it without some hopes of at least a par-
tial success. The hopes depended partly
on the skill of the new commander, Von
Scheer, and partly on his too-well justified
belief that the Germans possessed better
shells, better armour, better searchlights,
and more accurate range-tests than the British
Navy. The guns were also ranged for eleva-
tion up to 30 deg., whereas the British el-
evation was only 15 or 20; and the difference
was fatal to some of our battle-cruisers. The
conclusion seems to have been that an ad-
venture was worth while, and that if the
weather conditions were wisely selected, it
was feasible to fight a naval battle on the
principle of limited liability, breaking it off
if and when the losses incurred exceeded the
value of the results obtained. Clearly, for
instance, if the German battle-fleet could
engage the British battle-cruisers without
itself being engaged by the British battle-
fleet, the event might justify moderate ex-
    On the morning of 31 May the German
High Seas Fleet set out on its ”northern en-
terprise.” What the German Government
meant by that phrase has never been re-
vealed. It has been inferred that a concen-
tration of naval and military force against
Russia was planned to anticipate Brussilov’s
coming offensive, but there were no signs
of that movement on land, and the Ger-
mans had enough to do with Verdun and
their lines elsewhere in France without com-
mitting themselves to another adventure in
Russia; while the idea of a raid on the ship-
ping between England and Norway seems
an inadequate explanation of the force sent
out. On the other hand, if the design was to
cripple the British Navy, the opportune mo-
ment had been lost, for the adverse balance
against the German Fleet had been enor-
mously increased since the war broke out.
In the autumn of 1914 occasional break-
downs in the machinery of British super-
Dreadnoughts, accidents like the torpedo-
ing of the Audacious, and the inadequacy of
dock-accommodation had made uneasy the
minds of men who dwelt upon these con-
tingencies and made no allowance for sim-
ilar mishaps to the enemy. But even they
were reassured when in April 1915 British
construction far outstripped any German
possibilities; and as time went on the race
grew ever more unequal. It is true that
France ceased to partake in the competi-
tion, leaving this silent struggle of the work-
shop and the dockyard to Great Britain;
and the chance of a battle in the Baltic had
to be abandoned because no Allied battle-
ships could be relied upon to reinforce the
North Sea Fleet. But Britain’s margin was
ample enough, and at the battle of Jutland
her weight of metal was as two to one. The
Germans, however, had advantages of their
own, particularly in a delaying fuse which
caused their shells to explode after pene-
trating the enemy’s armour instead of be-
fore. Their capital ships were also better
armoured, and rarely sank when struck by
shells or torpedoes. This was also true of
the British battleships, and none were sunk
on either side except the old German Pom-
mern; but the British battle-cruisers fared
badly. The German marksmanship was also
better during the earlier stages of the bat-
tle, though inferior later on; and they had in
Von Scheer an admiral of conspicuous abil-
     The accident of the battle arose from
the fact that the British Fleet was simul-
taneously on 31 May engaged in one of its
periodical sweeps through the North Sea. It
had already turned back towards its north-
ern bases when at 2.20 p.m. enemy ves-
sels were signalled to the east. Beatty, who
had under his orders the four ”Cats,” Queen
Mary, Princess Royal, Lion, and Tiger, to-
gether with two other battle-cruisers, the
Indefatigable and New Zealand, and the four
biggest and newest battleships, Barham, War-
spite, Valiant, and Malaya (the Queen Eliz-
abeth herself was undergoing repairs at Rosyth),
at once turned back south-eastwards to cut
off the enemy from his retreat along the Jut-
land coast. The enemy vessels were Hip-
per’s cruisers, and they also turned south
to fall back on their battle-fleet, at whose
proximity Beatty can only have guessed. At
3.48 the action began with Hipper’s battle-
cruisers, Derfflinger, Lutzow, Moltke, Sey-
dlitz, and Van der Thann; none of them car-
ried heavier than l2-in. guns, while Beatty’s
”Cats” had 13.5-inch and his Queen Eliza-
beths l5-inch guns. A light-cruiser attack
against our line was crumpled up by cor-
responding vessels, but the bigger German
ships escaped fatal damage from our heavier
fire (it took hours to dispose of the enemy
at the Falklands), and by 4.42 they were in
sight of their battle-fleet.
    Beatty’s business was now to turn and
draw the Germans northwards into Jelli-
coe’s jaws, but the turning in face of the
German battle-fleet was a critical manoeu-
vre. Beatty’s battleships were north-west
on his starboard quarter, and as his battle-
cruisers turned they masked the Queen Eliz-
abeths’ fire while exposing themselves to
the concentrated attention of the German
Fleet. A high-angle shell fell on the thinly
protected deck of the Queen Mary; she blew
up and sank in a few seconds. Another
fell down the ammunition shaft of the In-
defatigable with the same appalling result.
Beatty was not deflected from his course;
possibly no other could have been taken.
The rest of his cruisers got round without
mishap, and the brunt of the fighting now
passed to Evan- Thomas’s Queen Elizabeths,
who stalled off the whole German Fleet as
both forces steamed north in Jellicoe’s di-
rection. It was probably during this stage
that most of the damage was done to the
German Fleet. The Lutzow and the Pom-
mern were sunk; the battleship Konig was
so battered that her forecastle was only 6
feet above water when she struggled into
port; and the Seydlitz and the Derfflinger
were in little better case.
    At 5.56 Beatty sighted Jellicoe’s battle-
ships at five miles’ distance on his port bow.
His task was now to cross the front of the
German line, head it off east and south-
wards, and afford Jellicoe room for deploy-
ment between Beatty himself and Evan-Thomas.
For reasons of tactics and prudence Jelli-
coe deployed on his port wing, i.e., towards
the east, This took him away from the Ger-
mans, but tended to cut them off from their
base. The deployment was skilfully exe-
cuted, though Admiral Hood and his battle-
cruiser the Invincible, while taking position
in front of Beatty, suffered the fate of the
Queen Mary and Indefatigable; and the British
Fleet soon formed a single line curving round
east and south- eastwards like a net into
which the Germans were being drawn. The
crisis had arrived, and German naval power
seemed on the verge of extinction. But the
weather came to assist Von Scheer’s tactical
skill. He turned with less misfortune than
had attended Beatty’s similar manoeuvre
two hours earlier, and set himself to fight a
magnificent rearguard action and extricate
his fleet as best he could. Fortunately for
him the visibility grew steadily worse, and
with it the range of fire diminished. This
deprived Jellicoe of the advantage of his
heavier guns, and indeed reduced the range
of gun-fire to that of torpedoes. Here Von
Scheer discovered his chance, and it was
upon torpedo attacks that he relied for the
defence of his fleet. Jellicoe, with his supe-
rior speed, could have closed had he deemed
it wise. But he thought of what hung on the
fate of the fleet he commanded, and shrank
from exposing his battleships to the risk
of torpedo destruction. His dilemma was
acute: gun-fire was very effective at 18,000
yards, the torpedo began to be so at 10,000.
Our cue was to fight between the two; but
low visibility hid the German ships outside
torpedo range, while within it fifty lucky
German torpedoes might have sent every
British Dreadnought to the bottom and de-
cided the war in Germany’s favour. On the
other hand, we might have sunk every Ger-
man ship and conceivably ended the war in
1917. War is an experimental science; but
this experiment was never made, and no one
can say what the result would have been if
it had. Beatty wished to make it, Jellicoe
    So the fight went on, the mist hiding
the Germans at longer range and their tor-
pedo attacks deterring us from a closer en-
counter. At 7.5 Jellicoe attempted to close
on the Germans by turning three points to
starboard. Von Scheer replied with a tor-
pedo attack, and to avoid it some of our
ships turned four, and some of them six,
points to port. Seizing the opportunity,
Von Scheer made off to the west, helped
by the mist and by his own smoke screen;
and shortly the Germans were lost to sight.
Night closed in with the British Fleet be-
tween the Germans and their base at Wil-
helmshaven hoping to complete their work
on a glorious First of June. Jellicoe and
Beatty agreed that to continue the battle in
darkness amid torpedo-craft and submarines
was impossible, and Von Scheer had other
designs in view. It was a night of excursions
and alarms with many destroyer actions.
When dawn broke the Germans were not to
be seen. Cut off from direct access to Wil-
helmshaven, Von Scheer had turned from
south-west round to north and then east,
and had got his ships one by one past the
rear of the British line into harbour. His es-
cape is the mystery of the battle: through-
out the night his starboard ships were con-
tinually barging into vessels on our port,
but no news of these encounters reached the
commander-in-chief. Till nearly noon Jelli-
coe watched for a fleet that never appeared,
and then made his way back to his base,
a victor baulked of the ostensible fruits of
his victory. The disappointment was made
worse by the ineptitude of the Admiralty
and the ignorance of the press, which em-
phasized our losses without explaining the
significance of our success. Besides the three
battle- cruisers we lost three armoured cruis-
ers, Defence, Black Prince, and Warrior of
13,000 or more tons apiece, and eight de-
stroyers, while the super-Dreadnought Marl-
borough was badly holed and the Warspite
was put out of action. The German looses
in destroyers may have been equal or greater,
but in cruisers they were considerably less.
The Government was foolish enough to deny
the loss of the Lutzow and admit it a few
days later. But our own estimates were
not conspicuous for their accuracy; and the
German official account published on 16 June
and long regarded as ”a tissue of careful fal-
sifications,” was admitted after the armistice
to have been substantially correct.
    The public in both countries were in-
deed egregiously wrong in their judgment
because they were completely ignorant of
naval warfare, and measured success at sea
by mathematical equations just as they mea-
sured progress on land by miles. It was only
the navies engaged that knew the truth,
and they had inadequate means of making
their knowledge known. British sailors were
loath to admit even among themselves the
defects in their vessels, gunnery, and lead-
ership which the battle revealed; but they
made less a secret of Von Scheer’s skill. He
had with a smaller force inflicted greater
damage on his enemy, and he had snatched
his fleet from the jaws of destruction. He
was no doubt favoured by the weather, and
he turned to the best advantage his facili-
ties of defence; for the enemy in retreat can
use his torpedoes with greater effect than
his pursuer, can tempt him into minefields
and submarine traps, and conceal himself
by smoke-screens. German Dreadnoughts
had, moreover, been built for defence in
home waters and not for keeping the seas.
Space, which was used to strengthen their
armour, had in our capital ships to serve
the needs of offence, speed, and comfort;
and subsequent inspection at Scapa Flow
showed that the German High Seas Fleet
was not designed to provide its crews with
living room for more than seventy-two hours
without recourse to port.
    But all these advantages and Von Scheer’s
skill could not reverse the verdict in that
trial of strength, and our qualms about the
battle of Jutland were a just nemesis on
our inveterate habit of judging by mate-
rial tests. The decisive factor in war is not
the material but the moral effect; and while
the German Fleet was not destroyed at the
battle of Jutland, its moral was hopelessly
shattered. Few of the German sailors who
had been in a naval battle had hitherto re-
turned to tell the tale, and those who went
out in the High Seas Fleet on 31 May had
been taught to believe in its invincibility.
But, said a German officer, ”the way we
were utterly crushed from the moment your
battle fleet came into action took the heart
out of them. Another hour of daylight would
have finished it,” while only three men in
Jellicoe’s main battle fleet were wounded.
Der Tag had come with a vengeance, and
from that day every attempt to take out the
German Fleet to battle produced a mutiny
or the threat of one.
    The third enemy offensive had come to
greater grief than the other two; and the
battle of Jutland had justified the earlier
German strategy which kept the German
Fleet safe in harbour while it kept our own
in British waters and faint hearts on ten-
terhooks. Germany’s naval power had now
gone with the moral of its crews, though the
ghost of it haunted for two and a half years
longer the timid minds of our materialists
on shore, and retained on this side of the
Channel hundreds of thousands of troops
needed for offence or defence in France and
Flanders. The German Fleet had never,
however, been a predominant factor in the
war, and it was with a different proposition
that the Entente had to deal when at last
its turn came to take the offensive and make
a real attempt to break the German lines.
     In spite of the disasters she had suf-
fered in 1915 and of her winter campaigns
in Galicia and the Caucasus, Russia was
the first of the Allies to take the offensive
in 1916. She was, indeed, engaged in at-
tacking at some point or other along her
vast and various fronts from December till
April. In February she again attempted to
seize the important bridgehead across the
Dniester at Usciesko and carried it on 22
March. Four days before that she had initi-
ated another offensive on the shores of Lake
Narotch, and in April she was pressing on
Trebizond. The Lake Narotch operation
was possibly designed to frustrate a Ger-
man attack on Riga, and it was only that
preventive success that was achieved. It is
true that the first and second German lines
were carried after artillery preparation by
the Russian infantry. But the scanty Rus-
sian artillery behaved like a travelling cir-
cus; having done its business, it packed up
and removed to seek another opening. The
Germans discovered the move, blasted the
Russian trenches, and on 28-29 April recov-
ered more than they had lost. The cam-
paign in Armenia was more successful, and
on 18 April Trebizond passed securely into
Russian hands, giving her a shorter route
across the Black Sea and a better base for
future operations in Asia Minor (see Maps,
pp. 146, 182).
    These, however, were minor operations
compared with the offensive for which Brus-
silov was preparing in May as the Russian
contribution to the combined attack on the
Central Empires. It was not timed to take
place until the end of June. But the Aus-
trian pressure on Italy from the Trentino
seems to have forced an acceleration which
the German attack on Verdun failed to ex-
tort from the Western Allies; and on 3 June
a bombardment began on the whole of the
Russian front from the Pripet marshes south-
wards to the Rumanian border. Ivanov had
been recalled to headquarters and the line
was under Brussilov, with four generals–
Kaledin, Sakharoff, Scherbachev, and Lechitsky–
to command his various army-groups. Op-
posed to them were four Austrian gener-
als and the German Bothmer, who held the
front from Zalocze on the upper Sereth to
the Dniester. From Kolki northwards the
Pripet swamps made progress difficult, and
Bothmer offered a stubborn resistance on
the Strypa. But in the Volhynian trian-
gle and the Bukovina the attack achieved
a surprising success. The infantry advance
began on the 4th and by noon the Austrian
front was completely broken. In two days
the Russians advanced more than twenty
miles, and on the 6th they entered Lutsk,
the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand’s headquar-
ters, capturing enormous booty and many
thousands of prisoners. On both sides the
breach was widened; to the north Rojitche
and to the south Dubno both fell on the
8th, and the Volhynian triangle passed com-
pletely into Russian hands. Their triumph
continued for another week: their salient
was deepened by a further advance to Zaturt-
sky and Svidniki, within twenty-five miles
of Kovel, and broadened by the fall of Kolki
to the north and Demidovka and Kozin to
the south. In less than a fortnight Kaledin
and Sakharoff had covered fifty miles and
taken 70,000 prisoners.
    Scherbachev was less successful against
Bothmer in front of Tarnopol; but his left
wing carried Buczacz, farther south, and
crossed the Strypa, while beyond the Dni-
ester Lechitsky outdid Kaledin’s success at
Lutsk. Forcing the passage of the Dniester
near Okna on that same 4th of June, he
broke the Austrian front and drove one half
of it west to Horodenka and the other half
south-east towards Czernowitz. The lat-
ter portion was now an isolated and dis-
organized fragment of the Austrian army
which could do nothing but escape across
the Pruth and the Carpathians leaving Le-
chitsky to overrun the Bukovina. On the
17th the Russians entered Czernowitz, its
capital, and six days later they reached Kim-
polung, its most southerly town. Other columns
swept west to Sniatyn and Kuty, and by the
23rd the whole of the province had been
conquered. The Austrians were in no po-
sition to impose a pause upon the frontier
of Galicia, and Kolomea fell on the 29th.
Tlumacz followed on the 30th and Both-
mer’s right was seriously threatened. Gath-
ering some German reinforcements he counter-
attacked on 2 July, recovered Tlumacz, and
checked Lechitsky’s right, though his left
continued its advance along the Carpathian
foothills and captured Delatyn on 8 July,
thus cutting the railway to Marmaros Sziget.
The Dniester and the Pruth were now flooded
with July rains, and a month elapsed before
Lechitsky could resume his march.
    Other causes had checked the Russians
farther north. Brussilov’s offensive may have
been merely a vast reconnaissance in force,
but its astonishing success had stirred the
Germans to prompt action. Ewarts was be-
ginning an attack on the important junction
of Baranovitchi north of the Pripet marshes,
and presently the line of battle spread down
the Shchara and along the Oginski canal. If
he succeeded like Brussilov, Brest-Litovsk
might be caught between two fires with dire
results to the whole German front in Russia
and future in the Balkans. It was a peril to
which the German prospects at Verdun and
forebodings on the Somme were secondary
considerations; and both the Western allies
profited from Brussilov’s campaign. One
German corps was hurried from Verdun to
Kovel in six days, and others followed at a
less exhausting speed. Austrians also came
from the Tyrol and the Balkans, and Luden-
dorff was sent to restore confidence in the
command. Kovel was the southern key to
Brest-Litovsk; the northern flank could look
after itself since Ewarts was making little
progress, and Bothmer had barred the way
for the time to the other essential points at
Lemberg and Stanislau. But Kovel was in
serious danger, for the Russians had pene-
trated to Lokatchi due south of that fortress;
and it was for its defence that Ludendorff
organized the Austrian counter-offensive in
the latter half of June.
    Kovel was saved. The Russian line was
pressed back from Lokatchi to Zaturtsky,
from Svidniki to Rojitche, and behind the
Stokhod. But the counter-offensive was spent
by the end of the month, and early in July
the Russians resumed their advance. North
of the Pripet Ewarts was no more successful
than he had been in June; German divisions
were made of sterner stuff than the Aus-
trian, and Hindenburg knew well enough
what was at stake. After heavy losses the
Russian attack died away without apprecia-
ble gain of ground, and north of the Pripet
at least the enemy line was secure. Nor,
even south of it, was Brussilov able to do
much more than straighten his own, bring-
ing it forward to the point reached by his
salient in front of Lutsk. This, however,
involved some danger to Lemberg and ef-
fected the fall of Stanislau farther south.
The chief obstacle was Bothmer in the cen-
tre, on whose stubborn resistance the Ger-
mans prided themselves although most of
his troops were Austrian; and he occupied
most of the Russian attention for the rest
of the campaign. But the most striking
advance was made in the north of Brus-
silov’s command, where summer had dried
the low-lying ground south of the Pripet
marshes. Here General Lesch, whose Third
Russian Army had been brought down from
north of the Pripet, broke the Austrian line
on the Styr between Kolki and Rafalovka
on 4-5 July, and in four days reached the
Stokhod. He even crossed it at points, but
failed to carry it in its entirety so as to
threaten the northern defences of Kovel.
    The main offensive was launched in Gali-
cia, doubtless with a view to its reaction
upon the attitude of Rumania; and here
Bothmer was menaced by Sakharoff in the
north and Lechitsky in the south. To dis-
concert the northern attack the Germans
had planned a counter-offensive on the 18th,
but Sakharoff got his blow in first three days
before. Forcing the Austrians across the
Styr in front of Dubno, he advanced along
its tributary the Lipa, captured Mikhailovka
and Bludov, and then swinging south occu-
pied Berestechko and threatened Brody on
the 20th. It was entered after a week’s fight-
ing on the 28th. Thence he struck south to-
wards the railway from Krasne to Tarnopol
which supplied Bothmer’s left, while Both-
mer’s right was being simultaneously threat-
ened by Lechitsky now that the floods on
the Dniester had subsided. On 7 August he
recaptured Tlumacz and reached the Dni-
ester near Nijniow; on the 10th he forced
his way into Stanislau, while Scherbachev
attacked on the north bank of the Dniester.
Almost outflanked on the north by Sakharoff
and on the south by Scherbachev and Le-
chitsky, Bothmer had at length to retreat
to the Zlota Lipa with his right in front of
Halicz, his centre at Brzezany, and his left
at Zborov. He was vigorously attacked by
Scherbachev, and his right was pushed back
on both banks of the Dniester as far as Hal-
icz until it stood upon the Narajovka. But
the centre stood firm against Scherbachev’s
great effort of the 29th, though Potutory
was taken and Brzezany reduced to a salient;
and the fighting of September and October
failed to modify the position anywhere ex-
cept far south in the Carpathians, where
Lechitsky secured Mount Kapul and the Jablonitza
and Kirlibaba passes, and advanced as far
west as Huta.
   This movement was in sympathy with
the Rumanian declaration of war on 27 Au-
gust, and spoilt the Russian chances of a
successful concentration against Bothmer.
Russia was not sufficiently furnished with
munitions or trained men to provide for two
great efforts on that front, and her sum-
mer campaign had failed of complete suc-
cess largely because of the services it ren-
dered to her allies. No fewer than sixteen
divisions were withdrawn, between June and
September, by the Germans from the West-
ern front and one from the Balkans to meet
Brussilov’s offensive, and they included some
of the best of the Prussian Guards. Aus-
tria diverted seven divisions from Italy, and
even the Turks sent two. The offensive had
cost the Central Empires something like a
million casualties, many of them Czecho-
Slovak and Jugo-Slav prisoners, who deserted
willingly enough and in time did valiant ser-
vice in strange lands to the cause of the
Entente and of their own national indepen-
dence. But the value of Russia’s last great
effort in the war was not limited to the front
on which it was made. It was an excellent,
though almost solitary, example of the ad-
vantages of co-ordinated strategy between
the Allies, and what progress was made on
the Somme, in Italy, and in Macedonia in
1916 was partly due to Russian valour on
other fronts.
    The British Empire, however, had eyes
in the summer of that year for little except
its own offensive in the West. It was mainly
a British affair, for the German attack on
Verdun had succeeded to the extent of mak-
ing impossible both an independent French
offensive and an equivalent French contri-
bution to the joint campaign on the Somme.
Like other realities of the war, this fact was
hidden from the public, and hopes ran high.
The failures of the autumn were recognized
as due to their being premature and made
on narrow fronts. We had learnt our les-
son; there was a new general in command;
in guns and munitions we had outstripped
the Germans; our men were no longer raw
recruits, and we had millions of them; and,
unlike Germany, we had no alternative front
to exact its toll like the Russian. The one
doubt that was harboured rather than ex-
pressed related to leadership. Lord Kitch-
ener had lost his life in the Hampshire, sunk
by a mine off the west coast of the Orkneys,
on 6 June. But Sir William Robertson, his
chief of Staff, had acquired a great repute as
an organizer, and the question was whether
the officers in the field would exhibit quali-
ties of intellect comparable with his admin-
istrative capacity or with the valour of their
   Apart from the urgent need of reliev-
ing the pressure on Verdun, a British of-
fensive was due as a contribution to the
common task; and the front on which it
would be made did not offer a great vari-
ety of choice. Whatever attractions other
localities may have held out yielded to the
Somme, where the French and British lines
met by Maricourt, and an advance side by
side was the nearest approach the Allies
had yet made to unity of command or even
of design. The combined effort was to be
concentrated on a single front of twenty-
five miles from Gommecourt, half-way be-
tween Albert and Arras, to Fay, five miles
above Chaulnes. If it achieved the success
that was hoped, it would roll up the Ger-
man line north towards the Belgian coast
and render untenable in the south and east
the great salient of the German front. The
retreat which the Germans effected to the
Hindenburg lines in the spring of 1917 was
the least that was expected from the sum-
mer offensive of the year before. But Ger-
mans are seldom idle, and for months they
had been silently and unobserved prepar-
ing to counter the vast storm of explosives
about to break on their trenches. That
wire-entanglements however extensive, and
trenches however intricate, could be oblit-
erated had been proved, and the Germans
were ready with their prophylactic on the
ground that was chosen for attack. The
rolling downs of the Bapaume ridge offered
natural attractions to an army sick of the
water-logged flats of Flanders, but they also
afforded the Germans depth and scope for
their vast underground chambers which no
artillery could destroy; and these defences
more than any other single cause defeated
the British thrust at Gommecourt and Serre.
    The Battle Of The Somme
    This was officially described as a sub-
sidiary operation, yet upon the assistance it
rendered to the main attack farther south
depended the whole nature and course of
the campaign. Had that thrust eastward
towards Bapaume been successful, the Ger-
mans facing the Somme would have been
taken in the rear, and the painful and costly
climb up the slopes to Bapaume, which lasted
throughout the summer and autumn, would
have been achieved in a couple of days. Places
like Pozi`res, well towards the goal, were
indeed given as our objectives for the first
day of the battle of the Somme. It be-
gan on 1 July. Since the middle of June
there had been an intermittent bombard-
ment of the German lines which grew in
intensity and extent from the 24th. The
attack had been entrusted to the British
Fourth Army, under Sir Henry Rawlinson
and the French Sixth under Fayolle. It was
expected by the Germans between Albert
and Arras, though not along the Somme,
and their artillery preparation took off some
of the edge of our attack. The troops ad-
vanced with the utmost dash and determi-
nation, and detachments got far ahead of
the line into Pendant copse, Thiepval, the
Schwaben redoubt, and even the outskirts
of Grandcourt. But few of them got back
when they found that the line as a whole
had held, and the losses of these troops in
the fire to the left and the right and in front
of them made up the bulk of the British ca-
sualties on that day.
    Farther south they fared better. The
outskirts of La Boisselle and Fricourt were
reached; Mametz was taken, and also Mon-
tauban by the most striking advance of the
day. On our right the French, whose attack
had been planned by Foch, had the advan-
tage of a surprise. North of the Somme they
reached the edge of Hardecourt and Curlu;
south of it they captured Dompierre, Bec-
quincourt, Bussu, and Fay, and with these
villages 6000 prisoners. The advance was
greatest the farthest it was removed from
where the Germans had prepared their re-
sistance; complete success south of the Somme
dwindled away to complete failure at Serre.
That northern attack was not renewed, but
from Ovillers south and eastwards the ad-
vantage was stubbornly pressed on the 2nd.
Fricourt fell and its surrounding defences,
while the French took Frise, Curlu, and Her-
becourt. It was clear, however, that the
German line had not, and could not be bro-
ken in the sense which the public at least
attached to the word. A first or even a
second and third line of trenches might be
taken, but there was an indefinite series be-
hind, and the progress was so slow that any-
thing like a thrust right through the Ger-
man defences and rout of the German forces
was out of the question. It was not until
the 5th that La Boiselle in the first Ger-
man line was mastered, and farther east the
initial success of the British was checked
by a line of woods which required weeks
to clear. On the 7th we took Contalmai-
son, but were driven out of most of it by a
counter-attack. It finally fell on the 10th,
but Ovillers held out till the 16th. The
woods to the right offered a no less stub-
born resistance. Bernafay wood was, in-
deed, gained on the 4th, but the German
flanks in Mametz wood to the west and
Trˆnes wood to the east were only driven
in at the cost of five days’ ferocious fight-
ing from the 8th to the 13th. The French
encountered similar opposition north of the
Somme, but south of it they were more for-
tunate. On the 4th and 5th they extended
their gains on their right by the capture of
most of Estr´es and Belloy, and after dis-
posing of German counter-attacks leapt for-
ward on the 9th past Flaucourt to Biaches,
a mile from P´ronne.
    On 14 July the second stage of the bat-
tle of the Somme began with an attack be-
fore dawn. It was the national fˆte-day of
France, but the attack was made on the
British front from Contalmaison to Trˆnes
wood. The objectives were the wood and
two villages of Bazentin, High wood (the
Bois des Foureaux), Longueval, and Delville
wood, while Trˆnes wood still remained to
be completely cleared. The day was one
of the most successful in the four and a
half months’ battle, and the dash of the
British troops carried them as far as all
their objectives. Bazentin-le-Grand and le
Petit and the wood were taken; aided by an
unwonted cavalry charge which raised delu-
sive hopes of breaking through, a great ad-
vance was made to High wood; and the Ger-
mans were driven out of most of Longueval
and the Delville wood. But it was more
difficult to retain these conquests; the ad-
vanced positions were exposed to enfilading
German fire, and counter-attacks drove us
back at various points and made the reten-
tion of others a matter of desperate conflict
for weeks. High wood had to be completely
evacuated; for Delville wood the South Africans,
and the troops which relieved them on the
20th, had to struggle for thirteen days, and
it was not wholly cleared for another month.
Much of what was credited to the 14th of
July had to be retaken in detailed fighting
spread over many days.
   On the 16th, however, the fall of Ovillers
prepared the way for an attack on Pozi`res,
which was finally captured with the help of
the Australians on the 26th, and the taking
of Waterlot farm on our right opened up
an advance on Guillemont. Much of High
wood was recovered on the 20th. On that
day the French pushed east of Hardecourt
and seized a section of the Combles-Clery
railway, while farther south they secured
the German defences from Barleux to Ver-
mandovillers. On the 27th the last Ger-
man outpost in Longueval was taken, and
on 4 August the Australians began their ad-
vance from Pozi`res to Mouquet farm and
the windmill which commanded the summit
of the Bapaume ridge. The ground was con-
tested inch by inch, and it took many weary
days to win. Villages and woods all along
the front were only captured by fragments,
and most of the fragments were lost again
more than once before they finally passed
into our hands. Well into September there
were bits of Delville wood and High wood
still in German possession, and a concerted
attack of 18 August was a failure except
for the seizure of Leipzig redoubt. On the
12th, however, and again on the 16th, the
French improved their position north of the
Somme and got close to Maurepas, of which
they completed the capture on the 24th.
    September was a better month for both
the Allies. There was a general attack on
the 3rd, when Guillemont, which had been
disputed for six weeks, was carried at length,
and the French rushed Le Forest, Cl´ry, and
the German lines up to the outskirts of Combles.
Two days later the British got into Leuze
wood between Guillemont and Combles, and
captured Falfemont farm to the south, while
a new French army extended the line of
battle below Chaulnes and took Chilly and
Soy´court; on the 6th they pushed their ad-
vance both north and south of the Somme,
taking above the river L’Hˆpital farm and
Anderlu and Marri`res woods, and below
it parts of Vermandovillers and Berny. The
German counter-attacks were unusually un-
successful, and on 9 September Ginchy was
carried by the Irish regiments which had
helped to take Guillemont. It looked as
though the Allies were at least getting into
their stride, or the wasting struggle was be-
ginning to tell on the German reserves and
resistance. Over two months had been spent
in securing objectives marked down for the
first day or two of the battle; but with the
fall of Guillemont the last fragment of the
German second position had fallen into our
hands, their third was more or less impro-
vised, we had a new weapon in reserve, and
were half-way from our original lines to Ba-
paume. Farther afield Rumania had de-
clared war, and Brussilov was still drawing
German troops from West to East.
    The third stage of the battle therefore
opened with hopes which even the expe-
rience of the second had not been able to
quench. Gough’s Fifth Army had since early
in July been formed as an independent com-
mand to the left of Rawlinson’s Fourth, and
its right comprised the 1st Canadian Corps
which was to attack Courcelette. The other
points of the German third line of defence
were Martinpuich, Flers, Lesboeufs, and Mor-
val. Martinpuich was the objective of a
Scottish division of the New Army, Flers
that of the New Zealanders, Lesboeufs and
Morval those of the Guards and another
division of the old Regulars. Behind the
British lines were collected twenty-four ”Tanks,”
which were to precede them in the attack
and prove by this first experiment their value
as a weapon of war. On the 14th a brigade
of Gough’s army stormed the Hohenzollern
trench and a redoubt called by the Ger-
mans a wunderwerk; apart from this suc-
cess, the attack diverted German attention
from the real offensive, which began on the
15th with an intense bombardment. The
Tanks spread terror and devastation among
the German lines and the results of the day
for once exceeded all expectations. Courcelette
fell to the Canadians, Martinpuich to the
Scots, Flers to the New Zealanders. High
wood was at last enveloped in this advance,
and Delville wood passed by the division of
the New Army which pushed from Ginchy
towards Lesboeufs. That effort on our right
was, however, hampered by the Germans
in the Quadrilateral and Bouleaux wood to
the east of Ginchy, and the Guards were un-
able to carry out the most important tacti-
cal part of the day’s work by carrying Les-
boeufs and Morval.
    The French had no such accumulation
of gains on the 15th, but they conquered
a larger area between the 13th and 18th.
They began on the 13th with the bold cap-
ture of Bouchavesnes right across the great
road from P´ronne to Bapaume, and sup-
plemented it by taking Le Priez farm on
the flank of Combles. On the 17th they
completed their work in Berny and Verman-
dovillers south of the Somme, and on the
18th added Deni´court. On that day the
British at last mastered the Quadrilateral
east of Ginchy, and thus prepared for the
great success which attended the next gen-
eral attack on the 25th. It was the best day
of the whole campaign. Lesboeufs and Mor-
val fell on the north of Combles, while the
French took Rancourt on the south-east,
and away to the west Gough’s army made
the surprising seizure of Thiepval. Further
fruits were gathered on the morrow; Gueude-
court, which had been taken but abandoned
on the 25th, was recovered; the French who
had then failed against Fr´gicourt now took
it; and Combles was the prize of their joint
success. Then the weather broke; and the
Germans, who had already begun to pre-
pare their Hindenburg lines far away in their
rear, were enabled to cling to the Bapaume
salient until they had taken all the precau-
tions for an orderly and inexpensive retreat.
    The rest of the Somme campaign was
an affair of local details until Gough’s Fifth
Army intervened on a larger scale. Eau-
court l’Abbaye was taken on 1 October, lost
on the 2nd, and retaken on the 3rd. Le
Sars was captured on the 7th, the Stuff and
Regina redoubts, between it and Thiepval,
on the 21st; and progress was made north
towards the Butte de Warlencourt and north-
east towards Le Transloy. The French cap-
tured Sailly and Saillisel to the east of Mor-
val and pushed far into the St. Pierre Vaast
wood and towards Moislains, while south of
the Somme they took Ablaincourt, Le Pres-
soir, Fresnes, Villers-Carbonnel, and Bar-
leux, and seized the west bank of the river
opposite Eterpigny above P´ronne. On 9
November the weather improved, and though
the October rains had made transport al-
most impossible across the mangled soil of
the battlefield on the Somme, the condi-
tions were not so bad north of Thiepval,
where our advance had been stayed on 1
July. The situation at Beaumont-Hamel
was also changed for the better by the fact
that the German stronghold was now a pro-
nounced salient enfiladed by our fire from
the captured Hohenzollern, Schwaben, Stuff,
and Regina redoubts. But that advantage
was less felt farther north at Serre, and there
the left wing of our attack on 13 November
was no more successful than it had been on
1 July. Better fortune attended our effort
between Serre and Beaumont-Hamel, but
the farthest advance of the day was that of
a New Army division on the extreme right
of the attacking line. St. Pierre Divion fell
almost at once, and our troops advanced
on the southern heights of the Ancre to the
Hansa trench half-way to Grandcourt.
    The task of the centre was to take the
fortress of Beaumont- Hamel, including the
forked ravine to the south which required
a prolonged and desperate struggle. The
work was done by Highland Territorials be-
fore the early November sunset; and mean-
while the Naval Division on their right drove
the Germans out of their first two lines on
the northern bank of the Ancre towards Beau-
court. One battalion penetrated almost to
the village, but was held up in a perilous
position owing to the resistance of a strong
German redoubt on its flank and almost in
its rear. It stood its ground throughout the
day, and at night the surrender of the Ger-
man redoubt to a couple of tanks opened
the way for a general attack on Beaucourt
on the 14th. It was stormed by the battal-
ion which had been waiting outside it since
the previous morning. German counter-attacks
on the 15th were repulsed, and on the 17th
a further advance was made to the Bois
d’Hollande north of Grandcourt, while Cana-
dians from the Regina trench established
themselves near its western outskirts. An-
other avenue towards Bapaume had been
opened up, but winter postponed any fur-
ther advance, and the Somme campaign had
come to an end.
   It had proved a sort of inverted Ver-
dun, and the comfort we had derived from
that successful defence was now extracted
by the Germans from their defence of Ba-
paume. The parallel was not exact, be-
cause while the German gains at Verdun
narrowed down to a point, ours on the Somme
expanded in a circle. Yet the arguments
were substantially the same: the French at
Verdun were willing to sell any number of
acres for armies, and the Germans professed
an equal content on the Somme. Each side
contended in turn that the offensive was the
more costly form of warfare, and then repu-
diated the contention when it came to at-
tack itself; and there was not a great deal
to choose between them so far as logic was
concerned. It is also clear that the Ger-
mans would have been at least as success-
ful at Verdun as we were on the Somme but
for the relief afforded by counter-offensives
elsewhere, and that we should have prof-
ited no more from the Somme than the Ger-
mans did from Verdun had our Somme cam-
paign been interrupted by German offen-
sives on other fronts. Nor was there much
to choose in the way of casualties: our esti-
mate of the German losses as approximat-
ing 600,000 was a reasonable guess, but our
own casualties were well over 400,000. The
French losses were lighter, but the two to-
gether cannot have been less than the Ger-
man. The Germans on the Somme, like the
French at Verdun, withdrew divisions to re-
fit before they were hopelessly broken; but
what was considered wisdom in the French
was reckoned weakness in the Germans and
the Prussian Guards, whose return to Berlin,
concealed in furniture-vans to hide their pitiable
plight, was graphically described in the En-
glish press by an imaginative American jour-
nalist, were really sent as a contribution to
that immense effort in the East by which,
in spite of the Somme campaign, Germany
first closed the gaps in the crumbling Aus-
trian front and then overran Rumania.
    There was thus a good deal of justice
in the German comparison between Verdun
and the Somme. The fallacy lay in the
facts that our offensive was not brought to
a stand by a German counter-attack but
by the advent of winter, that the moves
elsewhere in the West were the French ri-
postes at Verdun in October and Decem-
ber and not German counter-offensives, and
that their campaign in Rumania, in spite of
its painful success, had no effect upon the
vital situation in the West. That episode
was against us, but the tendencies were in
our favour; our losses might equal the Ger-
man, but equal attrition would leave us paramount
in the end, barring collapse on the part of a
principal ally. It was the fundamental situ-
ation which led to the German proposals for
peace at Christmas, and the superficial im-
pression which provoked the simultaneous
fall of the Asquith Government.
    So, too, there was something superfi-
cial and unjust in the lay criticism of Sir
Douglas Haig’s generalship. ”Tactics of the
Stone Age,” was Mr. Lloyd George’s later
comment, which should not have been made
in public at the expense of a general for
whose retention in the command he was
himself responsible. Even Foch controlled
the group of French armies which co-operated
with us on the Somme without producing
results of a different character; and it is idle
to compare the achievements of the gener-
alissimo of 1918 with those of the British
commander on the Somme in 1916. Haig
controlled the British forces in France and
Flanders, but he had no jurisdiction be-
yond a mere fragment of the thousands of
miles of front on which the war was waged.
Neither he nor any other Entente general
therefore enjoyed the strategical opportu-
nities of a Falkenhayn, Hindenburg, or Lu-
dendorff, who could direct their blows east
or west as they pleased; and responsibil-
ity for the strategical conduct of the war
rested not with the Entente generals but
with the heterogeneous Governments which
employed them. Each commander had to
work in his own compartment and could not
escape its limitations. Nor was the diversity
merely one of military commands; there was
also the Navy, upon which the whole Al-
lied strategy hung, to be considered; and
not only in the Entente, but in each of its
several Governments there was, and there
could be, no such unity of direction as was
possible in the militarist Central Empires.
    There was also something naive in the
popular clamour for a general as a Deus ex
machina. For, in spite of apparent excep-
tions, the tendency of the transition from
heroic to democratic ages is to transfer both
in war and in politics the decisive influence
from the individual to the mass, from the
protagonist to the private; and modern war-
fare, with its complexity and its science,
has become mainly a matter of mechanics.
Its hero is the mob, and its generals fight
far away in the rear of the line of battle;
even the telescope has given place to the
telephone. Individual valour counts for lit-
tle compared with accurate range-tests and
spotting by waves of sound. Man has mas-
tered nature only to become more depen-
dent upon his servants, and the vast ma-
chinery which the modern general controls
envelops him in its toils. He reaches his goal
in a motor, and the race is won by the best
machine. Generalship was but one of a vast
number of factors which gave us control of
the Bapaume Ridge but also prevented the
Somme campaign from saving Rumania or
spoiling the German defence against Rus-
     The battle of the Somme did not, how-
ever, quite exhaust the Entente offensive
for 1916. As it died down amid the au-
tumn rains, the French struck back at Ver-
dun on 24 October. Here Nivelle, who had
taken over the command from P´tain in
April, entrusted the attack to Mangin. The
Germans were not taken by surprise, but
they were unprepared for the strength of
the blow, and from Fleury to Fort Douau-
mont positions which had taken the Ger-
mans months to win were recovered within
a few hours. On the right the struggle was
more protracted, but on 2 November Fort
Vaux and on the 3rd the villages of Vaux
and Damloup were regained. A greater suc-
cess followed on 15 December. The attack
extended from Vacherauville on the Meuse
to Bezonvaux on the east, and all along the
line the French won their objectives. Be-
sides Vacherauville they retook Poivre hill,
Haudromont wood, and Louvemont on the
left, captured Chambrettes farm and Cauri`res
wood in the centre, and seized Hardaumont
wood and Bezonvaux on their right. To-
wards the north-east the Germans had al-
most been thrust back to the line from which
they started in February, though to the north
they still retained some ground, and the
French counter-offensive did not extend to
the west of the Meuse. It was a charac-
teristic exaggeration of the press to repre-
sent these gains as a complete reconquest
of all that the Germans had won in the
spring; but enough had been done to give
the Germans unpleasant anticipations for
1917 and to counsel them to draw in their
horns in the material sense of retreat from
their threatened position on the Somme and
in the metaphorical sense of seeking peace
(see Map, p. 194).
    Italy, too, had been making her contri-
bution to the Allied offensive during these
months. Brussilov’s onslaught in June had
trod on the tail on the Austrian invasion
from the Trentino, and it was patriotic pride
which led an Italian journal to describe Cadorna’s
recovery as the quickest and greatest re-
action of the war. Italy’s allies at least
were not surprised when during the latter
half of June her armies regained the ground
evacuated by the Austrians in a skilful re-
treat, including Posina, Monte Cimone, Ar-
siero, Asiago, and the whole of the Sette
Communi. Having thus protected his flank,
Cadorna reverted to his frontal attack along
the Isonzo and on the Carso. The Austri-
ans still held nearly the whole of the east
bank of the river and Oslavia and Podgora
on the west bank in front of Gorizia. Go-
rizia itself was protected by two mountain
strongholds, Sabatino to the north and San
Michele to the south. Early in August Cadorna
had completed his transfer of guns and troops
from the Trentino front, and on the 4th
he feinted an attack across the Isonzo at
Monfalcone. On the 6th a heavy bombard-
ment battered the whole front from Mount
Sabatino to Mount San Michele; both the
key-positions were taken by assault in a bat-
tle which lasted two days, and on the 9th
Gorizia fell. During the next few days the
advance was pushed across the Doberdo plateau,
south of Gorizia, and beyond the Vallone
on to the western end of the forbidding and
formidable Carso. By the 15th the Italian
line ran from Tivoli, north-east of Gorizia,
down the river Vertoibizza, across the Vip-
pacco and along the Carso east of Nad Lo-
gem, Opacchiasella, and Villanova. No such
victory had yet been won by unaided Ital-
ian troops against their hereditary foes, and
it did much to stimulate Italian confidence
and enthusiasm for the war. Some further
progress on the Carso was made during the
autumn, and great Italian victories were an-
nounced in September, October, and Novem-
ber; but the Italians were never within mea-
surable distance of capturing the key of the
Carso at the Hermada, and Trieste was a
very distant prospect until other causes had
brought about the collapse of the Hapsburg
Empire. When at the end of August Italy
at last declared war on Germany, the course
of the war remained unaffected, and greater
store was set on the simultaneous interven-
tion of the kindred Latin people of Ruma-
nias (see Map, p. 298).
    The combined offensive of the Allies in
1916 was not limited to the Russian, French,
and Italian fronts, and there is a diplomatic
story that when the battle of the Somme
seemed unlikely to produce the fruits ex-
pected from it, pressure was put by one or
more Western Powers upon Rumania to in-
tervene. The story was denied in the in-
terests of those Powers, and an alternative
tale was told of a sinister plot, engineered
by the Russian Prime Minister, Stuermer,
by which Rumania was lured into the war
in order that her defeat might pave the way
for her partition between the Hapsburg and
Russian Empires, Wallachia going to the
one and Moldavia to the other. Both expla-
nations were relics of the suspicion engen-
dered by the diplomacy of the old regime
rather than serious contributions to histor-
ical truth; and, while the conduct of the
masters and tyros of political strategy was
not calculated to render these fables incred-
ible, there were other circumstances more
intimately connected with Rumania to ac-
count for her action. After all, neither side
was in August 1916 in a position to dic-
tate to neutrals; and the Rumanian Army
counted for too much in the delicate bal-
ance for any belligerent Power to invite its
hostility by undue pressure. The decision
was Rumania’s own, and it was not unnat-
ural. She had been on the eve of interven-
tion more than a year before, but German
successes in 1915 had constrained her to
caution. By August 1916 it was clear that
the Central Empires could hope for no more
than a negotiated peace, and Rumania had
claims which would only enter into the ne-
gotiation if she took part in the war.
    Natural affinities left no doubt as to the
side she would choose. Her old king Carol,
who had died on 10 October 1914, was a
Hohenzollern, though of the elder and Catholic
line; but his successor was bred a Ruma-
nian and a constitutional monarch. There
was also a pro-German and anti-democratic
party, led by Carp and Marghiloman and
supported by the landlords, which harped
upon Rumania’s grievances against Russia
and placed Bessarabia in the scales against
Transylvania. But the Rumanes across the
Pruth were few compared with the four mil-
lions across the Carpathians, and the hard-
ships they shared with the Russians at the
hands of the Tsardom irked them less than
those injuries which the Magyars knew so
well how to inflict on subject nationalities
under the cloak of equal rights and liberties.
The claims which Rumania might hope to
enforce against a defeated Hapsburg Em-
pire would increase her population by more
than 50 per cent and make her territorially
compact, while the gains she could get from
Russia would be less extensive and less ho-
mogeneous, and would leave her with still
more straggling frontiers. The cause was
fairly clear; the occasion was provided by
the failure of the Germans at Verdun, the
success of Brussilov, the apparent likelihood
of Turkey’s collapse before the Russian ad-
vance in Asia Minor, and the promise of an
Entente offensive from Salonika.
    Turkey, indeed, had exhausted the credit
she had won at Gallipoli and Kut. She had
not been able to convert the capture of Kut
into an advance down the Tigris; and on
19-20 May Gorringe had taken the key to
the Es Sinn position and cleared the south
bank by an advance towards the Shatt-el-
Hai which would a month earlier have ef-
fected Townshend’s relief. Summer, indeed,
procured a respite from British attacks, but
not from Russian progress in Asia Minor.
On 15 July Yudenitch captured Baiburt,
and Erzinghian on the 25th (see Map, p.
182). A counter- offensive, which led to
the temporary loss of Bitlis and Mush, was
nullified by a Russian thrust at Rayat on
25 August, and Bitlis and Mush were re-
covered. Asia Minor seemed to be slipping
from Turkey’s grasp, and her hold on Ara-
bia was still more precarious. The Arabs
had never been patient subjects of the Sul-
tan, and the progressive vagaries of Young
Turk infidels shocked the fidelity of the or-
thodox people of Mecca. On 9 June its
Grand Sherif proclaimed Arab independence,
occupied Jeddah, took Yambo, laid siege to
Medina, cut the Hedjaz railway, and was
joined by tribes farther south who captured
Kandifah. An ineffectual Turkish effort to
cope with this rebellion postponed another
projected attack on Egypt, and when it was
made in August it was crushed at Romani
on the 3rd and 4th and the Turkish retreat
was turned into a rout.
    Greece remained the most dubious fac-
tor in the Balkan situation. There was no
doubt where her interests lay, for the only
two allies of the Central Empires were Turkey
and Bulgaria, one the ancient tyrant, and
the other the modern rival, of the Greeks.
But Greece was divided in mind between
her faith in a brilliant future and her fear
of German success. Her king, with his Prus-
sian queen and marshal’s baton, was inter-
ested in the success of the German Army
and of the principle of royal autocracy; and
his wishes made him doubt the prospects of
her foes. Apart from the Court and official
influence, he was given a hold on his peo-
ple by the fame which had been fathered on
him in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and the
fable that he was another Constantine the
Great. So far his doubts seemed to have
more justification than the faith of Venize-
los; and Greece had in return for her secu-
rity put up with an unconstitutional gov-
ernment and the shame of her broken Ser-
bian treaty. But the strain which Constan-
tine put upon the patience of his people
reached the breaking-point in 1916. In May,
acting under his orders, Greek troops ad-
mitted the Bulgars into Forts Rupel and
Dragotin, the keys of the Struma Valley.
Popular protests were made at Salonika, where
Constantine’s writ did not run; and the En-
tente retorted with a pacific blockade in June.
But in spite of a shuffle of ministers, the
Court held on its pro-German way and did
whatever it could, by secret communica-
tions with Berlin and facilities for German
submarines, to hamper the Entente prepa-
rations for an offensive from Salonika.
    Early in August Sarrail, who was now
commander-in- chief, ordered a French at-
tack on Doiran, and Doldjeli was taken. Prob-
ably this was no more than a feint, for the
real design was farther west, where the Ser-
bians under Prince Alexander were looking
forward to Monastir. Their offensive was
anticipated by the Bulgars, who after some
pourparlers with Rumania, were induced or
constrained by their German masters to at-
tack on the 17th. In the west Florina and
Banitza were seized on Greek territory, and
on the east the whole of new Greece, in-
cluding Seres, Kavalla, and Demirhissar, as
far as the Struma; the Greek garrisons sur-
rendered and were sent to Germany as the
Kaiser’s guests (see Map, p. 151).
    This was the last straw for the better
part of Greece. Venizelos addressed a mass
meeting of protest at Athens on the 27th,
and on the 30th a revolution broke out at
Salonika under Colonel Zimbrakakis, the Venizelist
deputy for Seres. Regiments were enrolled
for service against Bulgaria, and one of them
set out for the front on 22 September. On
the 24th a similar movement swept over
Crete; Mytilene, Samos, and Chios and smaller
Greek islands followed suit; and Venizelos
left Athens to form with Admiral Condouri-
otes and General Danglis a provisional gov-
ernment of insurgent Greece at Salonika.
It was grudgingly recognized by the En-
tente and at once declared war on Bulgaria.
The mainland, south-west of Salonika, how-
ever, remained under Constantine’s control,
and added to its hostility to the Entente a
murderous vendetta against the Venizelists.
The militarist party engaged in the curious
campaign of forming leagues of reservists to
oppose a war which would involve their call
to the colours, and a succession of embar-
rassed phantoms was established in office to
enable the king to evade the demands of the
Allies. They increased in severity from the
surrender of the fleet to that of the army’s
batteries and then to its disbandment; but
they were backed by inadequate force and
bungling diplomacy. On 1 December de-
tachments of Allied troops, landed at the
Piraeus, were driven back with bloodshed,
and well into the new year the King contin-
ued to defy the Entente and push Greece
deeper into anarchy. On its side the En-
tente wished to avoid a civil war, which
would be almost worse than united enmity,
because it would preclude a naval block-
ade; but the principal cause of its blunders
was its own divided counsels. France and
Great Britain were stoutly Venizelist; but
the Tsar had personal reasons for dread-
ing revolutions, particularly one against his
cousin, and Italy had no liking for that greater
Greece which was represented by Venize-
los, might become a rival in the eastern
Mediterranean, and would certainly reclaim
the Dodecanese from its Italian masters.
    The Rumanian Campaign
    Amid these scenes of Hellenic turmoil
Sarrail strove to prosecute his offensive in
aid of Rumania. The die had been cast by
the northern kingdom on 27 August, and on
the 28th Rumanian troops poured over the
Carpathian passes into Transylvania. This
direction of Rumanian strategy was severely
criticized because it did not suit our Balkan
plans. Bulgaria was the foe we had in view,
and Rumania, it was said, should have launched
her armies across the Danube in an effort to
cut the corridor and join hands with Sarrail.
The criticism was unjust for other reasons
than the fact that in the treaty signed on 16
August it was stipulated that the principal
aim of Rumanian action should be in the
direction of Buda-Pesth. Sarrail’s objective
was Monastir, an eccentric route to Sofia or
the Danube, and the British troops along
the Struma were not cast for the part of an
advance towards Rumania. Bulgaria, more-
over, was not yet Rumania’s enemy, and
had shown signs of remaining neutral. Nor
is a strategical motive ever an adequate rea-
son for making war; there must be a politi-
cal justification, and the grounds for Ruma-
nia’s intervention was the injury suffered by
the Rumanian population in Hungary and
Transylvania. She had no quarrel with Bul-
garia on the score of national rights; indeed,
it was rather she who ruled over Bulgars in
the Dobrudja, and a Rumanian war could
only be defended in principle as a crusade to
redeem the Rumania irredenta north of the
Carpathians. Even had it been her busi-
ness to pull the chestnuts out of the fire
for the Entente, it might be urged that she
did her part in opening the door for a Rus-
sian attack on Bulgaria. In 1915 the Rus-
sian reason for non-fulfilment of the threats
of punishment for Bulgarian treason to the
Slav cause had been the obstacle of Ruma-
nian territory. That was now removed; and
a Russian advance through the Dobrudja
would not only have saved Rumania from
Mackensen’s envelopment, but have given
effect to Russia’s menace against Bulgaria,
facilitated Sarrail’s operations, cut the cor-
ridor, and isolated Turkey. Of all the strate-
gic failures in the war none was more tragic
than this which was imposed upon Rus-
sia, partly by her internal weakness and
partly by her divergent ambitions in Asia
Minor. The Rumanian advance across the
Carpathians would have been sound enough
strategically as well as politically, had it
been properly supported by her huge but
unreliable neighbour.
    The Central Empires were preparing but
unprepared, and the Rumanian attack pros-
pered brilliantly at first. Apart from the
political object, there was the strategic pur-
pose of improving Rumania’s defences. Her
own frontier–over 700 miles in length–was
even worse than Italy’s because of its circu-
lar configuration; the enemy, with the inte-
rior lines, military railways, and easier ap-
proaches to the passes, could strike from
the centre at any one or more of a dozen al-
ternative points and could shift his attack
from one to another flank in a fraction of
the time it would take Rumania to trans-
port her forces to meet it. She had no lat-
eral lines for her northern frontier, and of
the vertical lines only two went up to the
passes. If, however, she could reach the
Maros, she would not only straighten her
line and shorten it by half, but deprive her
enemies of their railway and other strategic
advantages. On that line she might hope
to resist the Teutonic counter-offensive and
protect her territory, which would have been
left defenceless if her armies had gone south
to invade Bulgaria. For a fortnight all went
well; the enemy troops in Transylvania were
few, inferior, and unreliable, and one Czech
battalion went over to the invaders. By 10
September Kronstadt and Orsova had been
taken, Hermannstadt evacuated, and Hat-
szeg was in danger; at points the Rumani-
ans had advanced some fifty miles, and the
Maros line seemed almost in their grasp.
    The appearance was delusive. Germany
declared war on 28 August, Turkey on the
30th, and Bulgaria on 1 September. But
the real danger did not come from Bulgaria,
and it would have been at least as serious
if Rumania had invited attack by declar-
ing war on Bulgaria herself, and thus ex-
ceeding the requirements of the treaty of
16 August. It came from Germany, and
was as little foreseen by Rumania’s crit-
ics as by her Government. That Germany
should have divisions to spare for another
Balkan campaign after Verdun, and while
the battle of the Somme and Brussilov’s
offensive were at their height, amazed the
Entente Powers, and was, indeed, quite in-
consistent with the versions of those cam-
paigns to which they had given currency.
Yet it was true: besides an Alpine corps
of Bavarians, Germany sent no fewer than
eight divisions to the Carpathians, and put
Von Falkenhayn at their head. She also
sent a lavish supply of guns, munitions, and
aeroplanes to which Rumania had not the
wherewithal to reply. The promised Rus-
sian supplies fell short, eaten up perhaps
by Brussilov’s requirements, and partly, it
was said, surreptitiously withheld in the in-
terest of Stuermer’s treacherous design of
a separate peace with Germany at Ruma-
nia’s expense. The first blow was struck
by Mackensen, whose rapid concentration
of the German forces south of the Danube
had not been disturbed by the promised
offensive from Salonika. The treaty had
fixed it for 20 August, but Sarrail’s plans
were betrayed by two of his officers and con-
veyed through a Spanish diplomatist to the
enemy; possibly this was the cause of the
Bulgar attack on the 17th, and Sarrail did
not move until 7 September. He did, how-
ever, detain the three Bulgarian armies on
the Salonika front, and Mackensen only had
the help of the fourth, which had all along
watched the Rumanian frontier.
    On 1 September his forces invaded the
Dobrudja and seized Dobritch, Balchik, and
Kavarna on the coast. On the 5th they cap-
tured Turtukai on the Danube with an in-
fantry division and a hundred guns. Silis-
tria farther down the river was thereupon
evacuated, and on the 16th Mackensen stood
on the line Rasova-Kobadinu-Tuzla, a dozen
miles from the important railway running
from Bukarest across the Tchernavoda bridge
to Constanza; Tchernavoda was the only
bridge across the Danube in the Balkans,
and Constanza was Rumania’s only Black
Sea port. Here the stipulated Russian three
divisions, composed partly of Serbs who had
escaped into Rumania in 1915 and of Jugo-
Slavs taken prisoners by the Russians from
the Austrian forces, came to Rumania’s as-
sistance; and Mackensen was not only held,
but driven back some fifteen miles. Falken-
hayn, north of the Carpathians, disposed of
greater strength, and during the latter half
of September the Rumanians were steadily
driven out of their conquests. A great feat
of the Bavarian Alpine Corps was the cap-
ture on the 26th of the Roterturm Pass in
the rear of the First Rumanian Army; else-
where the retreat was carried out with skill,
valour, and comparatively slight losses, and
Falkenhayn found it no easy task to break
the Carpathian barrier despite the advan-
tages he possessed in every kind of equip-
ment and in the experience of his men. But
for the paralysis which overcame the Rus-
sian effort in the Carpathians he would have
had the tables turned upon him, for no ad-
vance would have been possible against the
Rumanian frontier had his flank been seri-
ously threatened by the Russians from Jablonitza
to the Borgo. Indeed, with a little more
energy on the part of the Russian Govern-
ment the Central Empires might have en-
countered in Transylvania a greater disas-
ter than had yet befallen them. The Rus-
sian excuse was that their liabilities to Ru-
mania involved an awkward extension of
their front, yet it was Russia which had
put most pressure on Rumania to intervene;
and no account was taken of the huge ex-
tension of the Teutonic front achieved by
that intervention, nor of the fate which Rus-
sia might have suffered if Falkenhayn and
Mackensen had concentrated in the north
the forces they led against Rumania. The
relief which Russia secured thereby almost
seems to support the sinister view of Stuer-
mer’s policy.
    It was not until 10 October that the
northern Rumanian armies were forced back
to the Moldavian border; and all Falken-
hayn’s efforts to debouch from the central
passes towards Bukarest were defeated by
Rumanian valour. Nor was he more suc-
cessful against Moldavia, and November ar-
rived with its promise of snow to block the
mountain-routes before he had advanced more
than four miles into Rumanian territory.
Mackensen, too, was held up in the Do-
brudja, and a month’s inactivity was only
relieved by rival raids across the Danube.
But by 20 October he had received rein-
forcements in the shape of two Turkish divi-
sions and one German. The Russo-Rumanian
line was broken, and on the 21st the rail-
way between Constanza and Tchernavoda.
Constanza was abandoned on the 22nd, its
stores of oil and wheat being burned, and on
the 25th a span of the great bridge at Tcher-
navoda was blown up by the retreating Ru-
manians, while the Russians hastily with-
drew thirty-five miles to Babadagh. Here
on 1 November Sakharov arrived to take the
command with several new divisions, for
Alexeiev did his best to redeem the failings
of his Government, and a counter-offensive
was begun. On the 9th Sakharov recap-
tured Hirsova, and by the 15th he had ad-
vanced to within seven miles of Mackensen’s
lines defending the Constanza railway. But
he was too late, for the Rumanian defence
which had held north and south in the cen-
tral zone was crumbling fast in the western
    Having failed along the direct route to
Bukarest, Falkenhayn now concentrated his
efforts on the passes west of the T¨rzburg;
but he had little success in October. Two
columns which crossed the mountains east
of the Roterturm Pass and made for Sala-
trucul were flung back with heavy losses on
the 18th, and Falkenhayn transferred his
main attack to the Vulcan Pass still far-
ther west. But he kept up his pressure from
the Roterturm down the Aluta valley in or-
der to detain there the Rumanian reinforce-
ments which the extension of Lechitsky’s
line into Moldavia had released for service
in the West; and in the first week of Novem-
ber his troops were threatening Rymnik.
But south of the Vulcan they had come
to grief at Targul Jiu, where on 27 Octo-
ber General Dragalina, with inferior num-
bers and artillery, won the most brilliant
success of the campaign. Unfortunately he
died of his wounds on 9 November, and with
fresh reinforcements and guns the Germans
under Falkenhayn’s eyes resumed their ad-
vance on the 10th. Their progress was stub-
bornly contested, but on the 21st they en-
tered Craiova on the main Rumanian rail-
way, thus cutting off the western part of
Rumania from the capital and isolating the
army defending Orsova and Turnu Severin.
Presently it was surrounded, but for nearly
three weeks of gallant effort and romantic
adventure it eluded its fate and only sur-
rendered at Caracalu on 7 December after
the fall of Bukarest.
   Craiova was bad enough, but almost worse
was to follow; for on 23 November Mack-
ensen succeeded in forcing the passage of
the Danube beween Samovit and Sistovo,
and by the 27th he effected a junction with
Falkenhayn’s armies which had swung east
and were now across the Aluta advancing
on Bukarest. The Rumanians’ flanks were
thus both turned by the crossing of the moun-
tain passes and of the Danube, and they
had no option but a rapid retreat to a line
where those flanks held firm. That line
did not cover the capital, and its elabo-
rate forts would have been merely a trap
for the Rumanian army. Nevertheless, a
brave and skilful attempt was made to save
it by a manoeuvre battle, and hopes were
entertained in allied countries that Ruma-
nia was about to repeat the success of the
Marne. The success could only come later
when Averescu had flanks as secure as Jof-
fre’s. Still a wedge was for the moment
driven between Mackensen and Falkenhayn’s
centre, and the movement might have suc-
ceeded had the reserves been up to time.
Bukarest fell on the 5th, and for the rest
of the year the Germans continued their
progress eastwards until the Russo-Rumanian
forces were able to stand on a line formed
by the Danube, the Sereth, and the Putna
ascending to the Oitos Pass. Sakharov had
been forced to withdraw from the Dobrudja,
and all that was left of Rumania was its
Moldavian province, less than one-third of
the kingdom, with its capital near the Rus-
sian frontier at Jassy.
    Sarrail’s campaign in the south provided
inadequate compensation. The part assigned
to the British contingents under General
Milne, which had taken over the front from
the Vardar eastwards past Doiran and down
the Struma to the sea, was the somewhat
thankless one of pinning the Bulgars to that
sector and preventing them from reinforcing
the threatened line in the west. The vari-
ous British attacks on villages east of the
Struma, such as Nevolien, Jenikoi, Pros-
enik, and Barakli-Djuma, were thus merely
raids, and the ground gained was soon evac-
uated for tactical or sanitary reasons. The
serious offensive was towards Monastir, and
the lion’s part was played by the Serbian
army with assistance from the French and a
moderate Russian contingent; Italians from
Avlona also fought occasionally. The Bul-
garian offensive from Monastir in August
had penetrated far into Greek territory, pa-
trols even reaching Kailar, and it threat-
ened, indeed, to turn Sarrail’s left wing by
an advance to the shores of the Gulf of Sa-
lonika when Sarrail began his attack on 7
September. The first serious fighting took
place to the west of Lake Ostrovo, where on
the 14th the Serbians captured Ekshisu. On
the 20th they stormed Mount Kaymakcha-
lan and recovered a footing on Serbian ter-
ritory, while the French and Russians drove
the Bulgars out of Florina. On the 29th,
after furious Bulgarian counter-attacks, the
Serbian general Mishitch descended the moun-
tains towards the bend of the Tcherna river,
and turning the left flank of the Bulgar-
Germanic army forced it back to the lines
at Kenali beyond the Greek frontier. These
had been selected by Mackensen and strongly
fortified, and a frontal attack by the French
and Russians on 14 October broke down
(see Map, p. 151).
    Better success attended the Serbian ef-
forts to turn the enemy flank. By 5 Oc-
tober they had secured the crossing of the
Tcherna at Brod, and slowly they pushed
across it. Bad weather delayed them for a
month, but by 15 November Mishitch had
mastered the river bend from Iven to Bukri;
and, thus outflanked on their left, the en-
emy yielded to the Franco-Russian attacks
on Kenali and retreated to the Bistritza,
four miles from Monastir. On the 16th and
17th the Serbians again attacked on the moun-
tains in the Tcherna bend, carried the Bul-
gar positions, and by the 19th had reached
Dobromir and Makovo whence they threat-
ened the line of retreat from Monastir to
Prilep. On that day the Germans and Bul-
gars moved out of and the Allies into Mona-
stir. Their position was further improved
before the end of the year, and it is said
that had Mishitch been allowed the use of
reserves, Prilep would also have fallen and
Monastir been spared the annoying bom-
bardment which it suffered at intervals for
nearly two years. For its capture marked
the limit of Entente success in that sphere
until the closing months of the war. The
campaign had not been fruitless, for Greece
had been saved as a brand from the burn-
ing, and presently did her part in the Al-
lied cause. But the Balkan corridor had
been expanded by the Rumanian disaster
into a solid block, and revolution in Rus-
sia soon put an end to all threats from the
north. The hopes that were built on Sa-
lonika were destined to remain in abeyance
until events in September 1918 justified the
faith of those who refused to abandon the
    The Rumanian disaster was, however, a
severe trial to the confidence and the pa-
tience of public opinion. Some critics held
that the war had been lost in that cam-
paign; but it was a worthier sentiment than
pessimism that gave edge to popular feel-
ing against the Government. Official opti-
mism had not concealed the indecisiveness
of the Somme, and few had the vision to dis-
cern the deferred dividends which accrued
as a bonus to other ministers in the spring.
But disappointment with the achievements
on the Somme was not so bitter as resent-
ment at the failure in Rumania. Was friend-
ship with the Entente doomed always to
be fatal to little peoples? One more trust-
ing nation had gone the way of Belgium,
Serbia, and Montenegro, and the blow to
our self-respect was keenly felt. The pub-
lic had little knowledge of the real respon-
sibility, but where knowledge is rare sus-
picion is rife; and a vicarious victim is al-
ways required when the actual culprit is out
of reach. Englishmen could exact no re-
sponsibility for whatever befell in the war
except from their own responsible Govern-
ment; and few paused to reflect that if Rus-
sia could not protect her immediate neigh-
bour, England and France could not save
a State from which they were completely
cut off both by land and sea. Nor was
it open for those who knew the facts to
make public comment on the conduct of an
ally, and compulsory silence on the part of
truth made all the more audible the mali-
cious tongue of slander. Belgium may have
been our affair, but the Balkans were that
of Russia; and not the wildest of Jingoes
before the war had dreamt of British forces
protecting Rumania. It was indeed the very
distance of the danger that induced and en-
abled us to indulge in recrimination against
the Government; for when eighteen months
later a greater and far more preventable
disaster threatened us nearer home, pub-
lic sense rose superior to the temptation
and temper of 1916, and instead of attack-
ing ministers the nation bent its undivided
and uncomplaining energies to the task of
supporting and helping them out of their
    In the autumn of the Rumanian reverse
there was no peril so imminent in the West
as to impose unity upon public opinion, the
press, or aspiring politicians. The advance
on the Somme had been slow, but it was
the Germans who were in retreat; the Ger-
man Navy had been demoralized at Jut-
land; and Germany’s only retaliation had
been the judicial murder of Captain Fryatt
on 27 July on a charge of having defended
himself against a submarine. Nine-tenths
of Germany’s last and greatest colony had
been overrun, and German forces oversea
reduced to hiding in unhealthy swamps in a
corner of East Africa; while across the Sinai
desert and up the banks of the Tigris were
creeping those railways which were to lead
to the conquest of Syria and Mesopotamia.
Two German raids in the dark on the Chan-
nel flotilla and the recrudescence of German
submarine activity had, indeed, provoked
some criticism of the Admiralty, and the
substitution of Jellicoe for Sir Henry Jack-
son as First Sea Lord had been already de-
cided. But the menace of the Zeppelins,
which had earlier stirred indignation in breasts
unmoved by dangers at the front, had been
met when on 2 and 23 September, 1 Oc-
tober, and 27 November successive raiders
were destroyed with all their crews by in-
cendiary bullets from aeroplanes; and the
Zeppelin had ceased to worry the public
mind. The aircraft policy of the Govern-
ment had been vindicated by a judicial com-
mittee in the summer, and the German me-
chanical superiority in the air which was
foreshadowed by the advent of the Fokker
had not survived the subsequent improve-
ments in British construction; while the ex-
ploits of Captain Ball put those of every
German airman into the shade.
    Impatience and pinpricks were, indeed,
the causes of popular irritation, rather than
any such crisis as those of the autumn of
1914 or the spring of 1918. Such irritants
are, however, apt to provoke more resent-
ment and provide more scope for recrimi-
nation than the stunning blows of national
disaster; and in the autumn of 1916 the peo-
ple felt less need of restraint than in the
more perilous moments of the war. The
discontent was not due to any particular
causes, nor was it confined to any partic-
ular country. It was a malaise produced
by the fact that the war was lasting longer
and costing more than people had expected,
and by popular reluctance to believe that
Britons could not have beaten the Germans
sooner but for the feebleness of their lead-
ers. The public needed a stimulant other
than that which mere prudence could pro-
vide; and catch-penny journals, having hunted
in vain for a dictator, found at least a victim
in the Cabinet of twenty-three. It was not
an ideal body for prompt decision, and its
chief seemed almost as slow at times to take
action that was necessary as he was to com-
mit the irretrievable blunders urged on him
by his journalistic mentors, who thought
the wisdom of a step immaterial provided it
was taken at once. He had other qualities
which disqualified him for popular favour in
a time of popular passion. He was not emo-
tional, and did not respond to the varying
moods of the hour with the versatility de-
manded by the experts in daily sensation.
He belonged to an older school of politicians
who suffered, like our armies in the field,
from the newer and possibly more scien-
tific methods of their foes. He was scrupu-
lous in his observance of accepted rules of
conduct, and the charge which was pressed
against him most was that of excessive loy-
alty. He did not intrigue against his col-
leagues for newspaper support, nor publicly
criticize his Government’s commanders in
the field. He put what success his Cabinet
achieved to its common credit, and took the
chief responsibility for its failures himself.
He was staid in adversity but slow in ad-
vertisement, and he did not figure in the
    Mr. Lloyd George was the antithesis of
his former leader, a Celt of the Celts, with
all their amazing emotion, versatility, and
intuition. There is a true story, which has
even found its way into French literature,
of how the Welshmen were stirred to de-
feat an all-conquering New Zealand foot-
ball team by the strains of the ”Land of
my Fathers.” That was the sort of tonic the
British public found in Mr. Lloyd George,
and it would not have been so much to their
taste at a less emotional time. He was the
very embodiment of an emotion that was
not overburdened with scruples, and of an
impulse which hardly troubled to think. He
imported the temperament and the meth-
ods of the religious revivalist into the prac-
tice of politics, and he enlisted strange allies
when he found a vehicle for his patriotic fer-
vour in the language of the prize-ring. He
prided himself on his aptitude for political
strategy, and professed a sympathy with the
mind of the man in the street which was
keener even than that of Lord Northcliffe.
His views were always short-sighted, and he
had the most superficial knowledge of the
deeper problems of war and politics. Before
the war broke out he had complained that
we were building Dreadnoughts against a
phantom; in August 1914 he estimated our
daily expenditure of three-quarters of a mil-
lion as a diminishing figure; in the follow-
ing April he was as much in the dark as
Mr. Asquith himself about munitions, and
denied that conscription would assist our
success in the war. According to one of his
colleagues, he was the only member of his
Cabinet who favoured British participation
in the Pacifist Conference of Stockholm; in
the November before the great German of-
fensive in the West he quoted with approval
a plea for concentration at Laibach; and the
views he expressed on the Salonika expedi-
tion varied with the fortunes of war and the
fluctuations of popular favour. His remark
after the armistice that we had achieved
nothing in the time of his predecessor ex-
cept two defeats at the hands of the Turks,
was an epitome of his own intellectual limi-
tations; and the intensity of his convictions
was discounted by the infirmity of his prin-
    There were, however, substantial rea-
sons for the supplanting of Mr. Asquith
by Mr. Lloyd George. Political failings like
these and lapses like the Marconi scandal
might well be forgiven the man who could
get on with the war, or at least persuade
the people of its progress. The man in the
street really believed that after the change
of government the war would soon be won,
and subscribed with enthusiasm to a ”vic-
tory” loan calculated to finance a triumph
in eight months. Cooler observers discerned
a solid advantage in a Prime Minister who
could minister at once to the public de-
mands in the rival spheres of speech and
action, who could appease with words the
popular clamour for the moon and yet be
guided by others into the mundane paths
of practical common sense. There was at
the moment an abnormal dislocation be-
tween public opinion and actual possibili-
ties. The harsh amalgam of democratic pol-
itics and war seemed to demand an adapt-
able Premier; he was ex-officio and par ex-
cellence the pivotal man, and circumstances
required a liberal amount of lubrication and
elasticity to ease the friction and avert a
    The genesis of the movement which led
to the Cabinet crisis of the first week in De-
cember remains obscure, and the transfer-
ence of power was effected within the ca-
marilla itself without so much as a refer-
ence to the House of Commons and still less
to the electorate. The old system of Cabi-
net Government and collective responsibil-
ity disappeared, and while ministers mul-
tiplied until they numbered ninety, there
was little connexion or cohesion between
the endless departments. They were all sub-
ject, however, to the control of the new War
Cabinet, which soon consisted, like the old
War Committee, of seven members. The
old body of twenty-three was reduced to
less than a third its size for the purposes of
supreme direction and deliberation, and in-
creased to twice its numbers for those of de-
partmental execution. The higher functions
were still reserved for the much-abused politi-
cians; three of them had been members of
the old War Committee, and all of them,
with the exception of General Smuts who
was recruited in June, had been members
of the old Cabinet. So-called business men
were, however, admitted to departmental
duties, though the most striking successes
were achieved by two ministers of academic
training, Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, President
of the Board of Education, and Mr. R. E.
Prothero, President of the Board of Agricul-
ture. Both Navy and Army were entrusted
to civilians for political reasons, though one
retired in July 1917, when the submarine
campaign had reached its zenith, and the
other as a result of the German offensive
in March 1918. Deliberation had been the
foible of the Asquith regime; the character-
istic of his successor’s was the speed of its
versatility. The War Cabinet’s agenda re-
sembled nothing so much as a railway time-
table with ten minutes allowed on an aver-
age for the decision of each supremely im-
portant question reserved for its discussion;
and departmental changes recurred with a
rapidity which was reminiscent of French
governments in times of peace.
   These bureaucratic revolutions were, how-
ever, faithful reflections of the restlessness
which overcame peoples in all belligerent
countries as the war lengthened and pro-
duced its logical trend towards anarchy; for
civilization cannot resist an unlimited strain
put on it by its negation, and there were
symptoms of social dissolution throughout
the world in the later stages of the war. In
Germany they were suppressed for the time
by a powerful government and delusions fos-
tered by the success of the Rumanian cam-
paign; and the nation was stirred to a lev´e-
en-masse for national service, supplemented
by labour or slave raids in the occupied ter-
ritories. But even in Germany the Chan-
cellor spoke of the need of peace, and was
tottering to his fall. A greater ruin was
creeping towards the Russian Government,
and in France a series of stormy secret ses-
sions in the Chamber left M. Briand with
the task of reconstructing his Government
and reorganizing the high command. Jof-
fre was succeeded by Nivelle, and Briand
himself was driven from office four months
later. In Austria a more violent fate over-
took the Premier, Count Sturgkh, who was
murdered on 27 October, and his succes-
sor Koerber was compelled to resign on 13
December. Three weeks earlier the old Em-
peror Francis Joseph, who had ascended the
throne in the midst of the revolutions of
1848, passed away in time to escape the
greater desolation which threatened his em-
pire. His successor and great-nephew Charles
could give no better security to his min-
istries. Koerber was followed by Spitzmueller,
and he, after a few days by Clam-Martinitz,
a Bohemian noble. Tisza’s henchman Count
Burian gave way as Foreign Minister to the
anti-Magyar Czernin, though Tisza himself
maintained his despotic sway in Hungary
until his murder in 1918.
   This holocaust of European reputations
did not extend across the Atlantic to the
neutral United States, where President Wil-
son, who had only been chosen by a mi-
nority vote owing to the split between Taft
and Roosevelt in 1912, secured re-election
by a narrow majority in a straight fight
with Mr. Hughes, the Republican candi-
date. Discerning critics rejoiced at the is-
sue of the contest; for apart from the merits
of the candidates, nothing could have been
worse than a practical interregnum during
the coming crisis in the history of the United
States and of the world. Yet an interreg-
num there would have been, if Mr. Wilson
had been defeated; for he would still by the
American Constitution have remained in of-
fice till March, and as the head of a van-
quished party he would have had no moral
authority to deal with the German pleas for
peace or their unrestricted campaign of sub-
marine war. The peace manoeuvre began
with a letter which the Kaiser wrote to his
Chancellor at the end of October; it was
made public by the latter’s speech in the
Reichstag on 12 December. The Allies were
simply invited in the interests of humanity
to discuss terms at a conference with their
conquering but magnanimous foe. On the
18th President Wilson addressed an inde-
pendent inquiry about their aims to both
groups of belligerents. The Allies replied
to Germany on the 30th and to President
Wilson on 10 January, intimating that there
could be no peace without the reparation,
restitution, and guarantees which Germany
was as yet determined to refuse.
    The attitude of the Allies astonished no
one but the Germans. On 11 January their
Government issued a note to neutrals, and
on the 12th the Kaiser a proclamation to his
people. Mr. Balfour also discussed the situ-
ation in a persuasive dispatch to the United
States. But the most illuminating comment
was made in private and came from hum-
bler quarters. A party of interned German
officers in the Engadine were eagerly await-
ing the news of the Allied reply to the Ger-
man offer. When it arrived they could not
conceal their amazement and chagrin; some
of them even burst into tears, and one re-
marked jetzt ist alles verloren. While the
Government of Great Britain was being dis-
missed for having accomplished nothing in
the war, intelligent Germans were bemoan-
ing that all was lost.
    The German presentiment of disaster was
justified by events in the spring of 1917,
and the new British Government seemed to
have come in on a flowing tide. In spite of
the gloomy picture of the situation which
Mr. Lloyd George had drawn for his chief
in December, confidence in a speedy vic-
tory animated the appeal of his ministry
for further financial support; and in most
of the spheres of war the first quarter of
1917 saw the reaping of harvests sown by
other hands. The deferred dividends on
the Somme campaign were paid, and the
Germans fell back from hundreds of square
miles of French territory. Mesopotamia was
conquered as the result of the patient labours
of Sir Charles Monro and the brilliant strat-
egy of Sir Stanley Maude, who had been ap-
pointed in August 1916. The meagre Ger-
man holding in East Africa was further re-
duced; and even distressful Rumania put a
stop to the German advance.
   Security for the Rumanian forces could
not, however, be found short of the Sereth,
which would give them a straight line with
the Russian frontier protected by the im-
passable delta of the Danube on their left,
and a flank in the Carpathians on their right;
and from the fall of Bukarest to the end
of December Averescu the Rumanian com-
mander, and Presan his chief of staff, re-
treated to this line fighting rearguard bat-
tles on the way. The most stubborn of these
was a four days’ conflict at Rimnic Sarat in
the centre on 22-26 December, after which
Mackensen entered the town on the 27th.
Sakharov conformed to this retreat in the
Dobrudja; on 4 January Macin, the last
place east and south of the Danube, was
evacuated, and on the 5th Braila on the op-
posite bank south of the Sereth and Danube
confluence. On the 23rd the Bulgarians,
taking advantage of the unprecedented frost,
crossed the marshes at Tulcea, but were an-
nihilated by the Rumanians on the north-
ern bank, and remained content for the rest
with the defensive. The same wintry condi-
tions put an end to fighting at the other ex-
tremity of the line in the Carpathian passes,
but in the centre Mackensen seized Focsani
on the 8th and occupied the bank of the
Sereth. That line had originally been for-
tified against the Russians, and it faced in
the wrong direction; but the position was
strong, and when on the 19th Mackensen
sought to force it he was repulsed in a costly
encounter. Russian reinforcements which
might have saved Wallachia came in time
to protect Moldavia; and the war-worn Ru-
manian army was retired to refit, the de-
fence of the Sereth being left to the Rus-
sians. The Germans made the most of their
booty in Wallachia, which suffered the fate
of Belgium and of Serbia; though the stores
of grain had been burnt and the Rumanian
oil- wells put out of action for many months.
In one respect Rumania was less fortunate
than the other little nations: in his fanatical
hatred of Russia, Carp rejoiced in her ally’s
defeat–albeit that country was his own–and
Marghiloman remained in Bukarest to curry
favour with its conquerors, and ultimately
to become for a brief and discreditable pe-
riod the Premier whom the Germans im-
posed on Rumania after the Treaty of Bukarest.
Meanwhile the patriotic parties rallied round
the ministry at Jassy and formed a Coali-
tion Government.
    The defence of Rumania now seemed to
occupy all the energy Russia could spare
from her domestic preoccupations. In Jan-
uary there was a sound strategical effort
to divert German attention from the south
by a counter-offensive from Riga, and an
advance of some four miles was made to
Kalnzem. But the Germans soon recovered
most of the ground; and elsewhere the front
was quiescent. There was no repetition of
the great blow at Erzerum of January 1916,
and in Persia Baratov’s small but adventur-
ous force was driven back by the Turks from
Khanikin to Hamadan, and the resistance
to Turco-Teutonic invasion and intrigue was
left more and more to British effort. Co-
operation seemed impossible to synchronize
in the East; one partner retreated when-
ever the other advanced. While therefore
the Russians halted in Asia Minor and with-
drew in Persia, Sir Stanley Maude was gath-
ering his forces for a spring on Baghdad.
Gorringe had already in May 1916 advanced
some way up the right bank of the Tigris
towards Kut; but summer forbade active
operations, and Maude had been duly im-
pressed by the force which previous expe-
riences in Mesopotamia had given to the
adage about more haste and less speed. The
autumn was spent in careful study and prepa-
ration, which would preclude a repetition of
the retreat from Ctesiphon and the fall of
Kut (see Map, p. 177).
    By 12 December he was ready to attack.
The Turks still held the Sanna-i-Yat posi-
tions on the left bank of the Tigris, but on
the right they had been pushed back to a
line running across the angle from the Tigris
at Magasis towards its southern tributary
the Shatt-el-Hai. The Turks under their
German taskmasters had not been idle, and
this angle, as well as the extension of the
Turkish line along the Shatt-el- Hai and
their secondary defences on the right bank
of the Tigris above Kut, had been well pro-
tected by trenches and wire entanglements.
The breaking down of these obstacles re-
quired stubborn fighting as well as skilful
tactics, but the only alternative was to pen-
etrate the Sanna-i-Yat positions and they
had proved impregnable in the spring. A
serious attempt had, however, to be made
at Sanna-i-Yat in order to detain there a
serious Turkish force; and while Marshall
pushed his way through on the right bank,
Cobbe was kept hammering on the left. On
the 13th crossings of the Shatt- el-Hai were
effected at Atab and Basrugiyeh some eight
miles from Kut, and Marshall advanced on
both banks to Kalah-Hadji-Fahan. On the
18th he reached a point on the Tigris just
below Kut in the Khadairi bend. Rain and
floods then impeded our advance for a month,
but the Khadairi bend was gradually cleared
of the Turks, and most of their positions
in the angle of the Tigris and Shatt-el-Hai
were taken. On 10 February Marshall pushed
on beyond the Shatt-el-Hai, reached the right
bank of the Tigris above the Shumran bend,
and by the 16th forced the Turks in the
Dahra bend across the river.
    The Turks had now been driven off the
right bank below, in front of, and far above
Kut, but they held the left bank as far down
as Sanna-i-Yat, and Maude’s task was to
find a way across. He chose the Shum-
ran bend, but diverted the attention of the
Turks by thrusting at Sanna-i-Yat from 17
to 22 February. On the 22nd he also made
feints to cross at Magasis and Kut, but on
the 23rd the real attack was made at Shum-
ran. Troops were ferried across and a bridge
built before evening, and on the 24th the
Turks were driven back on to their lines of
communication between Baghdad and Kut.
Meanwhile Cobbe had forced six enemy lines
at Sanna- i-Yat and then found the remain-
der deserted. The Turks were in full re-
treat towards Baghdad, and Cobbe entered
Kut unopposed. The pursuit was taken up
by Marshall, who reached Azizieh in four
days. There he halted till 5 March to pre-
pare for his final advance. On the 6th he
passed deserted trenches at Ctesiphon, and
on the 7th reached the Diala. For two days
the Turks disputed the passage, but a force,
transported to the right bank of the Tigris,
enfiladed their position on the Diala and
captured their trenches at Shawa Khan on
the 9th. Our forces on both sides of the
river entered Baghdad on the 11th, thus
concluding a model campaign which reflected
glory alike on the British and Indian troops
engaged and on their commanders, and raised
British prestige in the East higher than it
had been before the fall of Kut.
    The work of our armies in Egypt was
less sensational, but it was making solid
progress and laying firm foundations during
the autumn of 1916. The Grand Sherif of
Mecca was proclaimed king of the Hedjaz,
and he was a thorn in the side of the Turks.
Their defeat at Romani had been followed
by the steady construction of a railway east-
ward across the desert from Kantara, and
on 20 December El Arish was captured, while
on the 23rd the Turks who had fled south-
east to Magdhaba were there surrounded
and forced to surrender. The success was
repeated at Rafa on the Palestine frontier
a fortnight later, and presently the whole
Sinai peninsula was cleared of the enemy
forces (see Map, p. 352). Early in Febru-
ary a final blow was struck on the western
frontiers of Egypt at the Senussi, and Egypt
was converted from an enemy objective into
a fruitful basis of operations against the
Turkish Empire. Whatever might be said
for frontal attacks in the west of Europe,
ways round were proved to be the short-
est in the East, and the failure of the di-
rect blow at Turkey’s heart in the Dard-
anelles was redeemed by success along the
circuitous routes through Egypt and Mesopotamia.
    Among the other forgotten achievements
of the first two and a half years of the war
was the completion, chiefly by British arms,
of the establishment in the African conti-
nent of Entente and mainly British supremacy.
For even before the Turks had been driven
from the frontiers of Egypt the Germans
had been expelled from all the important
parts of East Africa. The progress had been
slow and not very creditable to our earlier
efforts, which failed through an underesti-
mate of the German strength, and particu-
larly of the skill and resource of the German
commander Von Lettow- Vorbeck. But it
was sound as well as inevitable strategy to
make sure of what we had by suppressing
rebellion in the South African Union and
then securing its frontiers by the conquest
of its German neighbour before proceed-
ing to concentrate forces for an offensive
against an isolated German stronghold which
could not threaten any essential interest nor
affect the main struggle for victory in the
war. The case against divergent operations
was strongest of all against the East African
campaign; and it would have been criminal
folly for the sake of amour propre or impe-
rial expansion to diminish our safeguards
against a German victory in the West, or
weaken the defence of our threatened com-
munications with Egypt and India. Von
Lettow-Vorbeck had forces enough to hold
his own, but he never even attempted the
conquest of British East Africa or the Bel-
gian Congo, and the most nervous antici-
pation could not picture him as a serious
danger to other dominions.
    The Conquest Of East Africa
    He was therefore left very much to him-
self until the South African Union, having
set its own house in order and secured its
frontiers by expelling German rule from the
southern part of the continent, was able
to lend its military power and its general-
ship to the task of reducing the Germans
in East Africa. It was formidable enough,
not so much from the opposition of man
as because of the obstacles nature placed
in the way. A tropical climate, torrential
rains which played havoc with transport,
the tzetze-fly which slew beasts of burden in
hundreds of thousands, impenetrable forests,
impassable swamps, immense mountain masses,
and an area almost as large as Central Eu-
rope, provided a problem as vast as that of
the great Boer War, and more difficult of
solution but for the fact that Von Lettow-
Vorbeck’s forces could not be compared with
those of our past antagonists and present
allies. Still they were far more dangerous
than any we had encountered in our nor-
mal wars against native races; for they had
been trained by German officers, experts
with machine guns and the other scientific
equipment of civilized conflict; and three
ships at least had eluded the blockade and
relieved Von Lettow- Vorbeck’s most press-
ing need of munitions; and he had selected
his coloured troops from the hardiest and
most bellicose of the native tribes. With
their help he had kept the German colony
intact until 1916, and even held at Taveta
an angle of British East Africa.
    Smith-Dorrien had been selected for the
command in the autumn of 1915, but ill-
health prevented him from taking it up, and
in February 1916 General Smuts arrived at
Mombasa to conduct the campaign. Expe-
rience had made us shy of enforced landings
from the sea; and rejecting the idea of seiz-
ing as bases Tanga or Dar-es-Salaam, which
would have given him shorter lines of com-
munication with the Cape, Smuts adopted
the more circuitous route by the railway
from Mombasa, with the design of forcing
the gap below Kilimanjaro and driving the
Germans southwards, while British and Bel-
gian subsidiary forces impinged upon the
enemy’s flank from the Lakes, the Congo
State, and Nyasa in the west. His advance
began on 5 March and Taveta was occupied
on the 10th. A frontal attack on the pass
between Kilimanjaro and the Pare moun-
tains savoured rather of British than Boer
methods, and Smuts preferred to send Van
Deventer round the north of Kilimanjaro
to turn the German position from Longido
and cut off their escape. Van Deventer was
successful, and at Moschi blocked the Ger-
mans’ retreat westwards; they managed, how-
ever, to slip away south-eastwards by Lake
Jipe, but the Kilimanjaro massif had been
cleared, and Smuts established his head-
quarters at Moschi. His force was now ar-
ranged in three divisions, the first under
Hoskins, the second under Van Deventer,
and the third under Brits; the first con-
sisted of British and Indian troops, the two
others of South African. The plan was to
strike with the second division from Moschi
towards Kondoa Irangi and thence at the
German central railway, while the first and
third cleared the Pare and Usambara moun-
tains and the coast, and then marched on
Handeni and threatened the central railway
on a parallel line to Van Deventer’s attack.
Van Deventer’s second division marched with
almost incredible speed. He started from
Aruscha on 1 April, and by the 19th had
driven the Germans from Kondoa Irangi,
more than a hundred miles away. In May
and June the other divisions cleared the
Pave and Usambara mountains, reached Han-
deni and Kangata, and with naval assis-
tance occupied Tanga, Pangani, Sadani Bay,
and Bagamoyo in July and August almost
without opposition. Von Lettow-Vorbeck
had transferred the bulk of his troops south
and then westwards up the central railway
to bar Van Deventer’s progress; and in the
process he had been forced to abandon the
north-eastern quarter of the colony. No small
part of the north-western province of Ruanda
had been lost as well: the Belgians had oc-
cupied Kigali and the British had driven the
Germans from their shore of Lake Victoria
   The rapidity and divergence of these at-
tacks, which were admirably timed, distracted
Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s strategy, and in spite
of his interior lines he was unable to of-
fer successful resistance. No sooner did he
send troops to bar Smuts’ advance from
Kangata into the Nguru hills than Van De-
venter struck west, south, and south-east
from Kondoa Irangi. To the west he took
Singida, thus getting behind the Germans
on Lake Tanganyika; to the south and south-
east he got astride the central railway by 14
July and pushed down it eastwards to Kilo-
ssa, which he reached on 22 August. He
was now almost due south the Nguru hills,
whence Smuts, attacking from the north,
had driven the Germans before the middle
of August. This converging advance made
Mrogoro the only line of retreat, and Smuts
planned a complicated outflanking move-
ment to intercept it. They escaped by a
track unknown to our forces on the 26th,
and prepared to stand south of the cen-
tral railway in the Ulunguru hills. Smuts
was too quick for them, but they repelled a
badly-timed attack at Kissaki on 6 Septem-
ber. Their retreat had, however, made the
coast untenable: on 3 September the capital
Dar-es-Salaam surrendered, and all the re-
maining ports before the end of the month.
Van Deventer, too, had pressed south to the
Ruaha on the 10th, the Belgians occupied
Tabora on the 19th, and General Northey,
advancing from Nyasa in the south-west,
had reached Iringa before the end of Au-
gust, while some Portuguese troops crossed
the Rovuma river, the frontier between Ger-
man East Africa and Mozambique, and made
a pretence of marching north. By the end
of September the great German colony had
been conquered save for the unhealthy south-
eastern corner, where only the Mahenge plateau
provided a decent habitation for white troops.
    The campaign had, however, tried the
health and endurance of our forces, and three
months’ respite was now taken for recupera-
tion and reinforcement before the final task
of eradicating the Germans from the rem-
nants of their territory. The great difficulty
was that, apart from the Mahenge plateau,
they were not rooted to any spot, and their
elusiveness was illustrated by the fact that
the Tabora garrison evaded the encircling
forces and joined Von Lettow-Vorbeck at
Mahenge. The campaign reopened on 1
January 1917, and consisted of a converging
attack on Mahenge by Hoskins from Kilwa
on the coast, by Northey from Lupembe,
by Van Deventer from Iringa, and by Beves
and subsidiary forces from north of the Ru-
figi. Smuts was summoned on the 29th to
England to take part in the imperial con-
ference, and Hoskins succeeded to the chief
command. Unprecedented rains impeded
our operations; progress became slow, and
remained so after Van Deventer replaced
Hoskins at the end of May. Not till October
was Mahenge occupied by the Belgians. On
26 November half of the German forces un-
der Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s lieutenant Tafel
were forced to surrender between Mahenge
and the Rovuma; but Von Lettow himself
escaped across the frontier with sufficient
troops to terrorize the Portuguese and main-
tain himself in their territory until the end
of the war.
     The victor in the East African campaign
came in 1917 to a Europe where victory
seemed also on the way, for the early spring
saw the only German retreat of moment un-
til the war was near its end. The battles of
the previous September had convinced the
Germans that their line upon the Somme
was barely tenable, and they had employed
the winter pause to perfect the shorter and
better line upon which they had begun to
work at Michaelmas. Possibly it was to
frustrate these preparations that Haig re-
opened his campaign so early as he did. On
11 January, the day on which the Allies
answered President Wilson’s note, British
troops began to nibble at the point of the
salient on the Ancre which had been cre-
ated by the battle of the Somme. It was
a modest sort of offensive; for it was no
part of the Allies’ combined plan of opera-
tions, which had been settled in conference
during November, to launch a first-class at-
tack across the devastated battlefield of the
Somme. That wasted area was as effective
a barrier as a chain of Alps to military pres-
sure, and the Germans were thus left free to
withdraw from their salient without much
risk of disaster. They did not contemplate
any serious stand, and until the Allies were
ready to strike at the flanks of their posi-
tion the Germans could afford to retreat at
a pace which was not seriously hustled by
our advance. They showed as much promp-
titude, foresight, and skill in retirement as
they had done in their advance; they suf-
fered few casualties and had no appreciable
loss in guns or prisoners.
    The details of the movement were there-
fore of little moment, and owed the atten-
tion they attracted to the habit of measur-
ing progress in war by miles marked on a
map. It was the end of January before
the preliminary operation of clearing the
Beaumont-Hamel spur was completed, and
the apparently substantial advance began
with the fall of Grandcourt on 7 Febru-
ary. A more ambitious attack on Mirau-
mont from the south of the Ancre was some-
what disconcerted on the 17th by a Ger-
man bombardment of our troops as they
assembled, although the night was dark and
misty; for even in France the Germans found
spies to work for them, and a number of
executions for treachery failed to prevent
knowledge of our plans from occasionally
reaching the enemy. A week later the Ger-
man retreat extended, and Warlencourt, Pys,
Miraumont, and Serre were evacuated. Again
the Germans stopped for a time to breathe,
and it was not till 10 March that Irles, a
bare mile from Miraumont, was abandoned.
By that time the Germans had only rear-
guards and patrols left either north or south
of the Somme, and when on the 17th a gen-
eral Allied advance was ordered it encoun-
tered little resistance. The area of the Ger-
man withdrawal had spread over a front of
a hundred miles from Arras in the north to
Soissons in the south. On that day British
troops occupied Bapaume, while the French,
whose line we had taken over as far as the
river Avre, proceeded to liberate scores of
villages between it and the Aisne. On that
day, too, by one of the apparent illogicali-
ties of French politics, M. Briand’s Cabinet,
which had held office for the unusual period
of eighteen months, resigned.
    The German tide rolled sullenly and slowly
back for another fortnight. P´ronne, Nesle,
and Chaulnes fell on the 18th, Chauny and
Ham on the 19th, and on the 20th French
cavalry were within five miles of St. Quentin.
By the end of March the British line ran
from a mile in front of Arras to the Havrin-
court wood, some seven miles from Cam-
brai, and thence southwards to Savy, less
than two miles from St. Quentin. Thence
the French line ran to Moy on the Sambre
canal, behind La F`re, which the Germans
had flooded, and through the lower forest
of St. Gobain to the plateau north-east of
Soissons. The German resistance had grad-
ually stiffened, and there was a good deal of
local fighting in the first week of April while
the Allies were testing the strength of the
positions behind which the Germans had
taken shelter. We called them the Hinden-
burg lines, and believed that the Germans
had so named them to give them a nominal
invincibility which they did not possess in
fact. In Germany they were known as the
Siegfried lines, a name which properly only
applied to the sector between Cambrai and
La F`re which was also protected by the
St. Quentin canal. That was the front of
the new German position; its flanks rested
on the Vimy Ridge to the north, and on
the St. Gobain forest and the Chemin des
Dames to the south. It was a better and
shorter line than that which the battles of
1914 had left to the combatants without
much choice on either side, and the Ger-
mans were right enough in claiming that
the Hindenburg lines were selected by them-
selves. Their retreat thereto was not, how-
ever, a matter of choice except in so far
as they preferred it to the disaster which
would otherwise have overtaken them in their
more exposed positions. As a retreat the
movement could hardly have been more suc-
cessfully carried out; but the military dis-
tinction was marred by moral disgrace. For
destruction was pushed to the venomous
length of maiming for years the orchards
of the peasantry in the abandoned terri-
tory. The crime may have been no more
than a characteristic expression of militarist
malevolence and stupidity; but it may also
have been calculated to bar the path to
peace by agreement and to force on the
German people the choice, as a Junker ex-
pressed it later, between victory and hell.
    The success of the German withdrawal
discounted our spring offensive, not because
any attack was designed on the Somme, but
because the Hindenburg lines and the desert
before them gave that part of the German
front a security which enabled the German
higher command to divert reserves from its
defence to that of the threatened wings. Here
preparations had been begun by both the
French and the British before the German
retreat, and it had barely reached its limit
when on Easter Monday, 9 April, Haig at-
tacked along the Vimy Ridge and in front
of Arras. Since 21 March a steady bom-
bardment had been destroying the German
wire defences and harassing their back ar-
eas, and in the first days of April it rose
to the pitch which portended an attack in
force. Since the battle of Loos in Septem-
ber 1915 our front had sagged a little, and
points like the Double Crassier had been
recovered by the Germans. So, too, the
French capture of the Vimy heights, which
had been announced in May that year, proved
something of a fairy tale, and in April 1917
our line ran barely east of Souchez, Neuville,
and the Labyrinth. It was held by Allenby’s
Third Army, which joined Gough’s Fifth
just south of Arras, and by Horne’s First,
which extended Allenby’s left from Lens north-
wards to La Bassee. The Germans had three
lines of defences for their advanced posi-
tions, and then behind them the famous
switch line which hinged upon the Siegfried
line at Qu´ant and ran northwards to Dro-
court, whence quarries and slag-heaps linked
it on to Lens (see Maps, pp. 79, 302). This
line had not been finished at the beginning
of April, and hopes were no doubt enter-
tained that complete success in the battle of
Arras, reinforced by Nivelle’s contemplated
offensive on the Chemin des Dames, would
break these incomplete defences and thus
turn the whole of the Hindenburg lines.
    At dawn on Easter Monday the British
guns broke out with a bombardment which
marked another stage in the growing in-
tensity of artillery fire, and obliterated the
first and then the second German line of
trenches along a front of some twelve miles.
To the north the Canadians under Sir Ju-
lian Byng carried the crest of the Vimy Ridge,
and by nine o’clock had mastered it all ex-
cept at a couple of points. Farther south
troops that were mainly Scottish captured
Le Folie farm, Blangy, and Tilloy-lez-Mofflaines,
while a fortress known as the Harp, and
more formidable than any on the Somme,
was seized by a number of Tanks. The great-
est advance of the day was made due east
of Arras, where the second and third Ger-
man lines were taken and Feuchy, Athies,
and Fampoux were captured. On the mor-
row the Canadians completed their hold on
the Vimy Ridge, and Farbus was taken just
below it. On the 11th the important posi-
tion of Monchy, which outflanked the end of
the Siegfried line, was carried after a fierce
struggle; and on the 12th and the following
days the salient we had created was widened
north and south of Monchy. The capture
of Wancourt and Heninel broke off another
fragment of the Siegfried line, while to the
north our advance spread up to the gates
of Lens; the villages of Bailleul, Willerval,
Vimy, Givenchy-en-Gohelle, Angres, and Lievin,
with the Double Crassier and several of the
suburbs of Lens, fell into our hands. The
Germans appeared to have nothing left but
the unfinished Drocourt-Qu´ant switch line
between them and a real disaster.
    The battle of Arras was the most suc-
cessful the British had fought on the West-
ern front since the Germans had stabilized
their defences. Our bombardment was heav-
ier than the enemy’s, and was far more ef-
fective against his wire entanglements and
trenches than it had ever been before; and
the new method of locating hostile batteries
by tests of sound enabled our gunners to put
many of them out of action. Nor through-
out the war was there a finer achievement
than the Canadian capture of the Vimy Ridge
or the British five- mile advance in a few
hours to Fampoux. The German losses in
men and guns also exceeded any that the
British had yet inflicted in a similar period;
in the first three days of the battle some
12,000 prisoners and 150 guns were taken.
The battle did not succeed in converting the
war from one of positions into one of move-
ment; but if the Vimy position could be so
completely demolished in two or three days,
there seemed little prospect of permanence
for any German stronghold in France, and
a few repetitions of the battle of Arras bade
fair to make an end of the Hindenburg lines
and of the German occupation of French
territory. April along the Western front in
1917 wore a fair promise of spring.
    Nor was it without its hopes in other
spheres. Maude’s conquest of Baghdad pro-
duced other fruits in the East, including a
welcome change in the situation in Persia.
The fall of Kut in the April before had en-
abled the Turks to turn against the Rus-
sians and drive Baratov’s adventurous force
back from Khanikin into the mountains and
even east of Hamadan; but Maude’s ad-
vance cut the Turks off from their base at
Baghdad and threatened their line of re-
treat to Mosul. The Turks were in a trap:
Baratov resumed his advance from the north-
east, while Maude pushed up from the south-
west: Khanikin was the trap-door, and Halil,
the Turkish commander, made skilful ef-
forts to keep it open. A strong screen of
rearguards held up the Russians at the Pi-
atak pass, while other troops reinforced from
Mosul barred Maude’s advance at Deli Ab-
bas and on the Jebel Hamrin range. By
the end of March the bulk of Halil’s forces
were through, and Maude had to content
himself with linking up with the Russians
at Kizil Robat and driving the Turks from
the Diala after their troops in Persia had
escaped. Their junction with those from
Mosul enabled Halil to resume the offen-
sive, but his counter-attack was repulsed on
11-12 April, and Maude proceeded to ex-
tend his defences far to the north and west
of Baghdad. Feluja on the Euphrates had
already been occupied in March, and the
Turks driven up the river to Ramadie; and
on 23 April Maude completed his advance
up the Tigris by the capture of Samara,
where the section of the railway running
north from Baghdad came to an end. Hun-
dreds of miles separated it from the other
railhead at Nisibin, and with his front pushed
out on the rivers to eighty miles from Bagh-
dad, and with the Russians in touch with
his right and holding the route into Per-
sia, Maude might well rest for the sum-
mer content with the security of his con-
quests. He had done single-handed what
had been planned for a joint Anglo-Russian
campaign, with Russia taking the lion’s share
(see Map, p. 177).
    In the spring of that year it looked, in-
deed, as though the British Empire alone
was making any headway against the enemy
Powers. Even on the cosmopolitan Salonika
front offensive action was left to British troops,
and at no time during the war did any but
troops of the British Empire partake in the
defence of its dominions and protectorates.
These were all safe enough by the middle
of April 1917, and those that were within
reach of the enemy were being used as bases
for attack upon his forces. Maude, with his
army based upon India had now blocked the
southern route into Persia, and Sir Archibald
Murray was advancing into Palestine. The
capture of Rafa on the frontier was followed
on 28 February by that of Khan Yunus, five
miles within the Turkish border, and the
Turks under their German general Kressen-
stein withdrew to Gaza. There, on 26 March,
they were attacked by Sir Charles Dobell,
of Cameroon fame, with three infantry and
two mounted divisions, including a number
of Anzacs. The design was to surround and
capture the Turkish forces in Gaza, and the
only chance of success lay in the sudden-
ness of the blow and its surprise. For Do-
bell’s base was distant, his men had to drink
water brought from Egypt, and in spite of
the railway he had not at the front stores,
equipment, or troops for a lengthy strug-
gle, while the Turks could bring up superior
reinforcements. A sea fog robbed him of
two hours’ precious time; and although the
Wady Ghuzze and other defences of Gaza
were taken and a force of Anzacs actually
got behind Gaza and were fighting in its
northern outskirts at sunset, night fell with
the task unfinished and the British divisions
out of touch on their various fronts. A re-
tirement was accordingly ordered, and on
the morrow Kressenstein counter-attacked.
He was driven back with considerable losses,
and although Dobell had failed to take Gaza
he had reached the Wady Ghuzze and se-
cured the means of bringing his railhead
right up to the front of battle. With a few
weeks’ respite for reinforcement and reor-
ganization, April might yet see the British
well on the way to Jerusalem; for Arras was
not intended to stand alone, and in every
sphere of war the Allies had planned a si-
multaneous offensive (see Map, p. 352).
    But if hope was bright in the East, it
was pallid compared with the certainty of
ultimate triumph which blazed from the West
across the Atlantic; for on the 5th of that
April of promise the great Republic, with
a man-power, wealth, and potential force
far exceeding those of any other of Ger-
many’s foes, entered the war against her
and made her defeat unavoidable save by
the suicide of her European antagonists. It
was not a sudden decision, for a people with
such varied spiritual homes as the Amer-
ican, spread over so vast a territory, and
looking some eastward across the Atlantic
and others westward across the Pacific, but
all far removed from European politics and
cherishing an inherited aloofness from the
Old World and a rooted antipathy to impe-
rialisms of every sort, could not easily see
with one eye or achieve unanimity in favour
of a vast adventure to break with their past
and unite their fortunes with those of the
Old World they had left behind. We were
accustomed to fighting in Europe against
overweening power; the United States had
taken their stand on a splendid isolation.
Their first president had warned them against
entangling alliances, and their fifth had erected
into the Monroe Doctrine the principle of
abstention from European quarrels. For a
century that principle had been the pole-
star of American foreign policy; no other
people had such a wrench to make from
their moorings before they could enter the
war, and no other people can understand
what it cost the Americans to cut them-
selves adrift from their haven of democratic
pacifism in order to fight for the freedom of
another world.
    But Fate was too strong for schismatic
tradition, and the two worlds had merged
into one. The shrinking of space and ex-
pansion of mind was abolishing East and
West, and the two hemispheres had become
one exchange and mart of commodities and
ideas. They could not continue to revolve
on diverse political axes, and neither was
safe without the other’s concurrence. To
the German cry of weltmacht must sooner
or later respond the American cry of wel-
trecht; for the war was a civil war of mankind,
and upon its issue would hang the future of
human government. Intervention was in-
evitable, not so much because the Kaiser
had said he would stand no nonsense from
America as because, if America was to stand
no nonsense from him after victory, she would
have to turn the New World into an armed
camp like the Old and run the same race to
ruin. The old peace and isolation were in
any case gone, and the choice was between
war for the time, with the prospect of per-
manent peace on the one hand, and peace
for the time, with the permanent prospect
of war on the other. There was no other
way, and Germany forced the American peo-
ple to realize their dilemma.
    President Wilson had seen it earlier than
the majority of his fellow-countrymen; but
for a statesman a vision of the truth is an
insufficient ground for acting upon it. He
is bound, indeed, not to act upon it until
he can carry with him the State he gov-
erns; otherwise he ceases to be a statesman
and sinks or rises into the missionary. The
zealot is ever ready to break his weapon
upon the obstacle he wishes to remove, but
the statesman who destroys national unity
in his zeal for war does not help to win it;
and American intervention was both useless
and impossible until the President could act
with his people behind him. Nor, as official
head of the State, could he play the irre-
sponsible part of an advocate; if he believed
war to be inevitable in his country’s inter-
ests, it was for him to convince the peo-
ple not by argument, but by his conduct
of American affairs. Idealism entered more
largely into his policy than that of most
statesmen, but it was bound to American
mentality and national interests; for ideals
which do not affect national interests do not
appeal to the majority in any nation, and
the lawlessness which trampled on Belgian
neutrality made less impression across the
Atlantic than that which destroyed Ameri-
can lives and property.
    A subsidiary cause of delay in Ameri-
can intervention was the absorption of the
United States in the presidential contest of
1916, but President Wilson’s re-election in
November gave him a freer hand than was
possessed by any other democratic states-
man. No American president is ever elected
for a third term of office, and Mr. Wilson
had no need to keep his eye on his prospects
for 1920. He must, indeed, secure the as-
sent of Congress before war could be de-
clared, but in both Houses his party had
secured a majority in November. The deci-
sive step was not, however, taken by Pres-
ident Wilson, but by the German Govern-
ment, and America was as much forced into
war in 1917 as we were in 1914; and in both
cases it was their view of military necessity
which drove the Germans into political sui-
cide. They could not, they thought in 1914,
cope with Russia until they had first beaten
France, and they could not beat France in
time unless they trampled a way through
Belgium. So in the early days of 1917, not
foreseeing the fortune which the Russian
revolution was to bring them, they saw no
prospect of victory save through the ruin of
England by means of their submarines. The
Eastern and Western fronts were too strong
for a successful offensive against either, the
military situation was growing desperate,
and their offers of peace had been scorned;
the war went on in their despite, and their
real offensive for 1917 was the submarine
campaign. It was adopted because there
was no opening on land and no hope of
success in a naval battle; and its adoption
justified those who held that the remedy
was worse than the disease and that unre-
stricted submarine warfare would bring the
United States into the war before it drove
Great Britain out.
    As late as 22 January, President Wil-
son, while depicting the sort of peace which
would commend itself to the American peo-
ple, disavowed any intention of helping to
secure it by force of arms. But on the 31st
Germany revoked her promise given on 4
May 1916 that vessels other than warships
would not be sunk without warning, and
announced her resolve forthwith to wage
submarine war without any restriction. Later
on Herr Bethmann-Hollweg stated that the
promise had only been given because Ger-
many’s preparations were incomplete, and
was revoked as soon as they were ready.
The President’s answer was prompt: on 3
February the German ambassador was given
his passports and Mr. Gerard was recalled
from Berlin. But the invitation to other
neutrals to follow the President’s lead was
declined on this side of the Atlantic. Switzer-
land, without any seaboard, was not con-
cerned with submarine warfare, and other
neutrals were too much under the influence
of German blandishments or terror to risk
war in defence of their rights; they preferred
to abandon their sailings to British ports.
    At first the President contemplated no
more than an armed neutrality, and pro-
posed to equip all American mercantile ves-
sels for self-defence. But the sinking of Amer-
ican ships and loss of American lives began
to rouse popular anger; sailings stopped at
the ports, the railways became congested
with goods seeking outlet, and the remotest
inland districts felt the effects of the Ger-
man campaign. In March, too, the Rus-
sian revolution removed a stumbling-block
to co-operation with the Entente, for Amer-
ican public opinion had always been sen-
sitive to the iniquity of the old regime in
Russia. At length the President summoned
a special session of Congress, and on 2 April
recommended a declaration of war. It was
adopted in the Senate on the 4th by 82
votes to 6, and by the House of Represen-
tatives on the 5th by 373 to 50. Of the
ultimate issue of the war there could now
be no doubt. Time would be needed for the
United States to mobilize its resources and
train its armies, and the extent to which
they might be required would depend upon
the course of events in Europe. But the
Americans were not a people to turn back
having put their hand to the plough, and
with their forces fully deployed they would
alone be more than a match for the Ger-
man Empire. Victory might be delayed, but
its advent was assured, and the first fort-
night of April saw the hopes of the Allies
rise higher than since the war began.
    Among the events which gave so bril-
liant a promise to the spring of 1917, not
the least was the revolution in Russia. From
the first, indeed, there was anxiety about
the effect which so great a change in the
midst of war would have upon the military
efficiency of our ally. But that had suf-
fered under the old regime, and the failure
to capture Lemberg in the summer of 1916,
distracted as the Central Empires were by
the Somme and Italian campaigns, followed
by the more discreditable failure to pro-
tect Rumania in the autumn, raised seri-
ous doubts of the competence of the impe-
rial bureaucracy. Its honesty also fell under
grave suspicion. Sazonov, the Foreign Min-
ister, had been dismissed in August, and
Stuermer became Prime Minister. A fierce
indictment of his conduct by Miliukov in
the Duma led to his retirement in Novem-
ber, and an honest Conservative, Trepov,
succeeded. But Stuermer retained his power
at Court as Imperial Chamberlain, and a
renegade from the Liberal party, Protopopov,
was introduced into the Ministry and ex-
ercised therein a growing and sinister in-
fluence. Winter saw the Russian Govern-
ment turning its back on its Liberal pro-
fessions, proroguing the Duma, prohibiting
the meetings of town councils and Zemstvos,
provoking a revolution in order to suppress
it and re-establish the old despotism on its
ruins, and apparently casting wistful glances
back at its old alliance with the German
champions of autocracy. The Tsar himself
was a firm friend of the Entente, but the
same could not be said of the Tsaritsa nor
of the reactionary and disreputable influ-
ences to which she extended her patronage.
If therefore there were risks to the Entente
cause in a Russian revolution, there were
also perils in its postponement; and it might
well be thought that a Liberal Russia would
be bound more closely and logically to the
Western Powers than autocracy ever could
be. A revolution would at least clarify the
issue between the combatants and give a
more solid basis of political principle to the
    The overture was a strange and squalid
tragedy. Noxious weeds grew in the shadow
of the Oriental despotism of the Russian
Court, and for years the Government had
been at the mercy of a religious impostor
and libertine called Rasputin. The trou-
ble, remarked a Russian General, was not
that Rasputin was a wizard, but that the
Court laboured under the superstitions of a
Russian peasant; and Rasputin, who had
some mesmeric power, used it to gratify
his avarice, immorality, and taste for in-
trigue at the expense of Russian politics
and society. At last, on 29 December, he
was doomed by a conclave of Grand Dukes,
Princes, and politicians who informed the
police of what had been done. The deed was
enthusiastically celebrated next evening by
the audience at the Imperial Theatre singing
the national anthem; but the body was buried
at Tsarkoe Selo in a silver coffin, while the
Metropolitan said mass, the Tsar and Pro-
topopov acted as pall-bearers, and the Tsar-
itsa as one of the chief mourners. The last
days of the old regime in France, with their
Cagliostro and the Diamond Necklace, pro-
duced nothing so redolent of corruption or
so suggestive of impending dissolution.
    Rasputin was a symptom, not a cause,
and the dark forces in Russia were not erad-
icated by his removal. Rather they were
roused to further action, and on 8 January
Trepov gave place to Prince Golitzin, a mere
agent of obstruction, while Protopopov pro-
ceeded with his measures to provoke dis-
order. The Duma was prorogued and ma-
chine guns made in England were diverted
from the front to dominate the capital. The
Russian revolution was, in fact, as much
forced upon the Russian people as war was
forced upon ourselves and America. Le pe-
uple, wrote Sully three centuries ago, ne se
soul`ve jamais par envie d’attaquer, mais
par impatience de souffrir; and in Russia
even hunger and Protopopov barely pro-
voked the people to action. The revolution
occurred not so much because they rose, as
because the bureaucracy fell, and it was not
so much a change from one government to
another as a general cessation of all govern-
ment through comprehensive inaction. The
Petrograd mob did not storm a Bastille like
that of Paris in 1789; it merely paraded the
streets and declined to disperse or work,
and the act of revolution was simply the
refusal of the soldiers to fire. It was not
the new wine of liberty, but the opium of
lethargy that possessed the popular mind,
and relaxation loosened all the fibres of the
Russian State. Action came later with the
Bolshevik reconstruction, but for the time
dissolution was the order of the day–a dis-
solution that was due less to the activity
of destroyers than to the decay of the body
politic; and the over-government of Russia
by bureaucracy and police precipitated a vi-
olent reaction towards no government at all.
    The Russian revolution was not there-
fore planned, and its origin and progress
can hardly be seen in acts. The Rasputin
affair was a vendetta of society which re-
vealed its moral disintegration, but more
than two months passed before the Govern-
ment collapsed. The first disorder took the
form of the looting of bakers’ shops on 8
March by disappointed food-queues, but a
more ominous and comprehensive symptom
was the abstention from work. Character-
istically it was not an organized strike; the
idle throng seemed to have no definite ob-
jects, and the question was not whether it
would achieve them, but whether the sol-
diers would obey orders and fire upon the
mob. On the 9th the chief newspapers ceased
to appear; on the 10th the trams stopped
running; on the 11th a company of the Pavlovsk
regiment mutinied when told to fire, and
the President of the Duma, Rodzianko, tele-
graphed to the Tsar that anarchy reigned in
the capital, the Government was paralysed,
and the transport, food, and fuel supplies
were utterly disorganized. Golitzin there-
upon again prorogued the Duma; but, like
the French National Assembly in 1789, it
refused to disperse, and declared itself the
sole repository of constitutional authority.
On the 12th Household troops improved upon
the example of the Pavlovsk regiment, and
shot their more unpopular officers when or-
dered to fire on the people. Other regiments
sent to suppress the mutiny joined it and
seized the arsenal. Then the fortress of SS.
Peter and Paul surrendered, and the po-
lice were hunted down. The Duma now ap-
pointed an executive committee of its mem-
bers to act as a provisional government, while,
outside, an unauthorized committee of sol-
diers and workmen was created, for the orig-
inal Duma had been purged by imperial re-
script and represented chiefly the upper and
middle classes. On the 13th news came that
Moscow had accepted the revolution, and it
was clear that the Army would offer no re-
sistance, although the Tsar had appointed
Ivanov commander-in-chief in order to sup-
press the insurrection. Ruszky and Brus-
silov signified their adhesion to the popu-
lar cause, and Ivanov failed to reach the
capital. The Tsar followed him, but was
stopped at Pskov on the 14th. There on the
15th–the modern Ides of March–the mod-
ern Russian Tsar or Caesar was constrained
to abdicate.
    On that day the Duma Coalition Min-
istry was announced; the Premier was Prince
Lvov, Miliukov took charge of Foreign Af-
fairs, Gutchkov of War and the Marine, and
Kerensky, a Socialist, of Justice. Ministers
were in favour of a regency, but the Soviet–
a Russian word which originally meant no
more than Council–of Soldiers’ and Work-
men’s Delegates demanded a republic. Keren-
sky, however, persuaded it to support the
Provisional Government by an enormous ma-
jority and the revolution appeared to have
produced a government. But even in or-
derly countries enormous majorities secured
in moments of emotion are apt to be evanes-
cent, and the Provisional Government had
an uneasy lease of life for just two months.
The Duma had not made the revolution,
and the middle classes for which it stood
were weak in numbers and prestige. The
vast mass of the Russian people consisted
of peasants who were illiterate and unor-
ganized, and cared for little but the land.
The urban proletariat, not having been ed-
ucated by the Government, had partially
educated itself in the abstract socialism of
Karl Marx, Lavrov, and Tolstoy. The Ex-
tremists followed Marx and were called So-
cial Democrats; but they had themselves
split into two sections, the Bolsheviks or
Maximalists and the Mensheviks or Mini-
malists; the former wanted a dictatorship of
the proletariat, a complete inversion of the
Tsardom consisting in the substitution of
the tyranny of the bottom for the tyranny of
the top, while the Mensheviks were willing
to recognize the claims of other classes than
the proletariat. More moderate, though still
socialists, were the followers of Lavrov, who
called themselves Social Revolutionaries and
found a leader in Kerensky. The middle
classes and intelligentsia formed the bulk of
the Cadet party led by Miliukov and were
predominant in the Duma and the Provi-
sional Government. In the Soviet power
gradually passed farther and farther to the
left, from Social Revolutionaries to Menshe-
viks and from Mensheviks to Bolsheviks un-
der the leadership of Lenin, whose return
from exile in Switzerland was facilitated for
its own purposes by the German Govern-
    All parties in the Soviet were, however,
agreed in their anxiety for peace, the de-
struction of imperialism and bureaucracy,
and the reconstruction of Russia on a so-
cialistic basis; and they concurred with the
peasants in their demand for the extirpa-
tion of landlordism. The emancipation of
the serfs by Alexander II in 1861 had done
little more than substitute economic for le-
gal slavery; for the emancipated peasants
were only given as proprietors the refuse
of the land they had tilled as serfs, and
for it they had to pay tribute calculated
upon the value of their labour when ap-
plied to the richer soil of their lords. Free-
dom therefore meant unavoidable penury,
but the demand of the peasants was not
so much to evade their dues to the State
as to secure the richer land which would
enable them to meet their obligations. It
was here that they sought their indemnities
and their annexations, not in the acquisi-
tion of foreign territory hundreds of miles
beyond their ken. Of Belgium and Serbia
they knew nothing, and all they knew of
the war was that it meant ghastly losses,
fighting with pitchforks against poison gas
and machine guns for them, and for their
masters the fruits of victory. What domes-
tic progress Russia had made in the past
had been the outcome of her defeats; suc-
cess in war had always been followed by re-
action. Constantinople–Tsargrad as it was
called by the Russians–had no charms for
the proletariat. They wanted peace, some
of them because national wars divided the
forces of international Socialism and post-
poned the war of classes, but most in or-
der that they might consolidate their rev-
olution and garner its ripe and refreshing
fruit. They did not, however, desire a sep-
arate peace with the enemy, and Austria’s
offer of 15 April was declined, because a
separate peace would be disadvantageous
to them. What they wanted was a general
peace which would give each nation what
it possessed before and each proletariat a
good deal more; and the design took form
in the Congress of Stockholm in June.
    Meanwhile discipline disappeared in Rus-
sia, and even in her armies the Soviet in-
sisted that there should be no death-penalty,
and that military orders, except on the field
of battle, should proceed from a democratic
committee. They knew that Russian autoc-
racy had rested on bayonets and only fell
with the failure of that support: whosoever
controlled the Army would be master of
Russia, and with a correct instinct the Bol-
sheviks set to work to convert the soldiers
and seamen. It was easy work preaching
peace, plenty, and indolence to the peasants
at the front; and the relaxation which re-
duced the production of Russian industries
by 40 per cent diminished still more the ef-
ficiency of the Russian Army. The Provi-
sional Government struggled in vain against
the disintegration, but its efforts were frus-
trated by the Congress of Soviets which be-
gan to sit in April, fell more and more under
Lenin’s influence, and resisted on principle
all measures to retain or re-establish au-
thority. On 13 May, Gutchkov, the Minister
for War, resigned, and Miliukov followed.
On the 16th the Provisional Government
was succeeded by another Coalition more
socialist in its complexion. Lvov remained
its nominal head, but Tchernov, a social
revolutionary, and two Mensheviks became
Ministers, and Kerensky took Gutchkov’s
place at the Ministry of War. He did his
best by his fervour and eloquence to rean-
imate the army, for he believed that only
the success of Russian arms could guaran-
tee the orderly progress of the revolution.
But Alexeiev retired in June, the Congress
of Soviets resolved that the Duma should
be disbanded, and the view was sedulously
propagated that it was wrong to fight fellow
Socialists in the German Army and that the
approaching Stockholm Conference would
compel the bourgeois and imperialist gov-
ernments to make peace without any fur-
ther bloodshed.
    Still Kerensky achieved some success with
his impassioned appeals, and Brussilov, who
had become commander-in-chief, reported
that the army was recovering its moral. The
Government determined to gamble on the
chance of a successful offensive. It had, in-
deed, no other means of checking the growth
of disorder, and an attack on the front was
not entirely hopeless. Both the Germans
and Austrians had depleted their Eastern
forces to provide against dangers elsewhere,
and there were still sound elements like the
Cossacks in the Russian Army. It was skimmed
for the purpose of all the cream of its reg-
iments, and the scene of action was laid
where Brussilov’s advance had pressed far-
thest forward in 1916. Lemberg was to be
outflanked on the south by a movement from
a line reaching from Zborow across the Dni-
ester to the foothills of the Carpathians.
Three armies were employed, Erdelli’s Eleventh
to the north, then Tcheremisov’s Seventh
reaching to the Dniester, and south of it Ko-
rnilov’s Eighth. Kerensky orated in khaki,
and Gutchkov served as an officer in the
field. The artillery preparation began on 29
June, and on 1 July the troops advanced
from their trenches. For a time they car-
ried all before them, and revolutionary Rus-
sia bade fair to repeat the success of Brus-
silov’s offensive in 1916. Tcheremisov’s Sev-
enth Army took Koniuchy on the 1st and
Potutory on the 2nd, and captured 18,000
prisoners. Erdelli’s Eleventh was more suc-
cessful in attracting the bulk of the enemy
reserves than in making progress; but the
diversion gave Kornilov’s Eighth a chance
of which it made brilliant use. It attacked
on the 8th and took half a dozen villages
south of the Dniester, driving the Austri-
ans back across its tributaries, the Lukwa
and the Lomnica. On the 10th Halicz fell
before a combined advance of Tcheremisov
north and Kornilov south of the Dniester,
and on the morrow Kalusz was captured
well on the way to Lemberg’s vital connex-
ions at Stryj. Then the weather broke and
the strength of the Russian armies turned
into water. There were no reserves with
the spirit of those who fell in this rapid ad-
vance, and Erdelli had failed to inspire the
Eleventh Army with Kornilov’s dash. On
the 16th Lenin brought off his Bolshevik in-
surrection at Petrograd, but more fatal was
the infection which spread through Erdelli’s
troops. It was on them that the weight of
the German counter-attack fell on the 19th,
and they simply wilted before it. There was
no great force in the German blow, which
was merely designed to relieve the pressure
of Kornilov’s advance; but Russian troops
refused to fight, and ran away trampling
underfoot and killing officers who strove to
stem the rout. By the 20th German patrols
were in Tarnopol, which the Russians had
held since August 1914, and in a fortnight
they were across the Russian frontier as far
south as the borders of Bukovina (see Map,
p. 146). The Seventh and Eighth Armies
had to conform to this retreat, but they
offered some stubborn resistance and were
brought off in good order. Czernowitz fell
on 3 August, and the only solid obstacle to
the enemy advance in the East was the little
Rumanian Army which had looked to this
summer for its revenge on the invader and
the recovery of its capital and Wallachia.
    The Rumanian Army had during the win-
ter been refitted and equipped with a con-
siderable store of munitions, and its offen-
sive was planned to follow closely on the
heels of the Russian in Galicia, But the Rus-
sians were out of Tarnopol before, in the
last week of July, Averescu began his ad-
vance from south of the Oitoz Pass towards
Kezdi Vasarhely; and the Russian Fourth
Army under Scherbachev, which was to co-
operate on Averescu’s right, was deeply in-
fected with revolutionary disorder. Nev-
ertheless Averescu broke the enemy front,
took 2000 prisoners on the first day, and on
28 July was ten miles ahead of his original
line. Then Mackensen counter-attacked far-
ther south at Focsani, while Scherbachev’s
regiments began to desert and the Russians
in the Bukovina were being steadily driven
back. On 6 and 7 August Mackensen forced
the Russo-Rumanian line back from the Putna
to the Susitza, taking over 3000 prisoners
in three days and also pushing on towards
Okna and Marasesti. In three days more
the number of prisoners increased to 7000,
the key to the defence of the Moldavian
mountains was threatened at Adjudul, and
the Court prepared to leave Jassy and take
refuge in Russian territory. On the I4th
Rumanian troops replaced the Russians in
front of Okna in the Trotus valley and coun-
terattacked with vigour. But the decisive
battle was fought farther south, where Mack-
ensen, advancing from Focsani, was seek-
ing to cross the Sereth in the direction of
Marasesti and Tecuciu. It was the most
heroic of Rumania’s struggles. Deprived
of all but a fragment of her territory and
her manhood, and abandoned by the only
ally within reach, she had to face perhaps
the ablest of German generals and over a
dozen fresh divisions thrown into the battle;
and almost hourly during the three days’
fighting a fresh detachment of Russians de-
serted. Yet Rumania triumphed at the bat-
tle of Marasesti, and by the 19th the cri-
sis had passed. The attack then shifted to
Okna, where the Second Rumanian Army
emulated the achievements of the First at
Marasesti. Sporadic fighting went on into
September, but Rumania had defended her-
self and saved South Russia for the time.
On the 18th the Germans even withdrew
from Husiatyn, an Austrian town on the
Galician frontier: they had already aban-
doned the south for a safer adventure against
the unaided Russians at Riga (see Map, p.
   The Baltic Campaigns
   This northern campaign resembled au-
tumn manoeuvres, and was mainly intended
to test the value of the new tactics which
Germany proposed to use next spring against
a more serious foe. It was more realistic
to experiment upon Russians than among
themselves, and Von Hutier was selected to
make the demonstration. The advance be-
gan in the last days of August, and on 1
September Von Hutier forced the passage of
the Dvina at Uexk¨ll, eighteen miles above
Riga, which the Russians abandoned on the
following day. Friedrichstadt fell next, and
the Russians retired from Jacobstadt on the
21st. The Germans were now across the
Dvina on a front of seventy miles, and pushed
on towards Wenden, meeting with occasional
resistance. But their next experiment was
at the expense of the Russian Navy, which
was even more demoralized than the Army,
and had murdered its officers wholesale. On
12 October the Germans landed a force on
the island of Oesel, and within a week had
overrun that and the other islands at the
mouth of the Gulf of Riga. On the 21st
they crossed to the mainland, disembark-
ing a force at Verder opposite Moen Island.
There was little to hinder a march on Petro-
grad, had there been any sufficient induce-
ment. But Petrograd in the hands of the
Bolsheviks was worth more to the Germans
than in their own; for a German occupa-
tion of the capital would have sterilized its
miasmic influence over the rest of Russia,
and the Germans had only advanced so far
in order to get into touch with Finland and
establish pro-German governments among
the little nationalities of the Baltic littoral.
They had, moreover, to economize their shrink-
ing manpower, and their reserves were be-
ing called off from all the Eastern fronts to
more urgent tasks elsewhere, leaving Russia
to stew in its own disintegration.
    Disaster had done nothing to check the
distraction of Russian domestic politics. The
Cadets had most of them resigned in July
owing to the Government’s complaisance to-
wards the Ukrainian demand for indepen-
dence; and Kerensky succeeded Lvov as Pre-
mier on the 22nd, while Kornilov took Brus-
silov’s place as commander-in-chief on 1 Au-
gust. But while Kerensky shed his right
wing, he gained no support from the left.
The Bolsheviks would not forgive him his
offensive in July, nor the success with which
he had suppressed the Leninite rising; and
a great conference at Moscow on 25 Au-
gust representing every shade of Russian
disorganization produced some agreement
on formulas but none on action. Early in
September Kerensky came to the conclu-
sion that a dictatorship was the only cure,
and gave Kornilov the impression that the
latter should fill the part. Another Bolshe-
vik insurrection was brewing in Petrograd,
and on the 7th Kornilov prepared to crush
it, sending Krymov forward to Gatchina within
twenty miles of the capital. Kerensky now
took fright at the bugbear of a military restora-
tion, denounced Kornilov as a traitor, and
threw himself on the support of the Sovi-
ets. The cry that the revolution was in dan-
ger ruined Kornilov’s chances; his surren-
der was arranged by Alexeiev’s mediation,
while Krymov committed suicide.
    Such were Russian politics during the
week in which the Germans overran the Dv-
ina. A republic was proclaimed on the 15th,
and the government entrusted to a coun-
cil of five with Kerensky at its head. It
lived no longer than its numerous predeces-
sors in the revolution. Kerensky was rash
enough to renew his breach with the Bol-
sheviks who had helped him to ruin Ko-
rnilov, and in November they rent the man
of words. Trotzky organized the blow. There
was little that was Russian about this Jew,
whose real name was Leo Braunstein, al-
though he was born in Odessa; but he pos-
sessed some practical capacity. Having se-
cured election as president of the Petrograd
Soviet, he had created a military revolu-
tionary committee and a body of Red Guards,
and on 5 November summoned the Petro-
grad garrison to place itself under its direc-
tion. Kerensky sought to defend his Gov-
ernment, but most of his forces went over
to the Bolsheviks, and on the 7th he fled
from the city. He attempted to return at the
head of some dubious troops, but they were
scattered by the Red Guards at Tsarskoe
Selo on the 13th and Kerensky disappeared.
What there was left of government in Rus-
sia passed into the hands of a self-constituted
council of People’s Commissioners with Lenin
as its president and Trotzky its Foreign Min-
ister; and on the 21st the council found a
commander-in-chief in one Ensign Krilenko.
His business was to offer an armistice to
the Germans as a preliminary to suing for
    Russia had gone out of the war much
faster than America came in. Early in May
a flotilla of destroyers joined the British Fleet,
and on 26 June the first division landed in
France. But it needed six months’ training,
and a year would pass before the weight of
American reinforcements would make much
material difference to the Western front. That
year was bound to try the Western Allies
to the utmost, and the interval between the
disappearance of Russia and the arrival of
the United States as an effective combat-
ant, gave the Germans the chance of revers-
ing the decision which they felt had gone
against them before the end of 1916. They
regarded the Russian revolution as a mir-
acle wrought in their favour; but it was
only by degrees that they realized the ex-
tent of their apparent good fortune and pro-
ceeded both to use and to abuse it. From
the first, however, the revolution changed
for the worse the situation on every front,
and enemy troops, released from fear of Rus-
sia, began to appear in the West, on the
Isonzo, in Mesopotamia, in Palestine, and
in the Balkans. The middle of treacherous
April saw the tide checked that had been
flowing so strongly since the year began.
    The disappointment was not, however,
entirely due to the gradual elimination of
Russia, for that misfortune did not fall with
much weight on the Western front until many
months had passed, and depression there
had its causes nearer home. Commenting
on the British success at the battle of Ar-
ras, an Italian journal optimistically asked
its readers what would be the plight of the
Central Empires when real military Pow-
ers got to work, since so much had been
achieved by the semi-civilians of the British
Empire. Hopes also ran high in France.
Nivelle, the new commander-in-chief, had
conceived an ambitious plan of crushing the
Germans on a front of fifty miles between
the plateau north-east of Soissons and the
river Suippe in Champagne; and this offen-
sive, coupled with the British pressure in
front of Arras, was to clear the Germans
out of the greater part of occupied France.
Nivelle proposed to repeat on a vastly ex-
tended scale his triumphs of the previous
autumn at Verdun, and he made no secret
to his Government of his confidence that
Laon would fall as a result of the first day’s
fighting. Neither Haig nor P´tain had much
faith in the possibility of the plan, but Niv-
elle had persuaded Ribot’s Ministry, which
had succeeded Briand’s in March, and French
expectations were raised to a giddy height.
There were three main objectives: to clear
the Chemin des Dames, to master the Mo-
ronvillers massif and other heights north
and east of Reims, and to thrust between
these two great bastions along the road to
Laon. Each was an objective greater than
that achieved in the battle of Arras, and all
were attempted at once (see Map, p. 67).
   The artillery preparation began on 6 April
and the infantry attack on Monday the 16th,
a week after that on the Vimy Ridge. The
battle was not easy to follow, because the
French were very reserved about their re-
verses, and the maps gave an erroneous im-
pression of the line from which the attack
started and that on which it ended. The
French were commonly thought to be hold-
ing both banks of the Aisne all the way
from Soissons to Berry-au-Bac, whereas in
reality they had never recovered from their
retreat in January 1915 to the south bank
between Missy and Chavotine. Nor, except
at Troyon, were they near the Chemin des
Dames; and not only had the river to be
crossed, but the formidable slopes, which
the Germans had beeen meticulously forti-
fying for two and a half years, to be sur-
mounted. The results of the first day’s on-
slaught fell lamentably short of the extrava-
gant anticipations. The banks of the Aisne
were cleared, some progress was made up
the slopes, and from Troyon, where the orig-
inal line was nearly on the ridge, an ad-
vance was made along it. But on the whole
the Germans maintained their grip on the
Chemin des Dames. Nor was fortune much
kinder in the gap between it and the heights
east of Reims. The French Tanks, here first
employed, were disappointing, and Loivre
was the only gain. The 17th was spent in
beating off counter-attacks west of Reims,
while the French offensive spread east to
Moronvillers. Here the same tale had to
be told; gallantry carried various points of
importance, but a month’s fighting failed
to give the French complete control of their
first day’s objectives. West of Reims on the
18th and following days Nanteuil, Vailly,
Laffaux, Aizy, Jouy, Ostel, and Bray were
captured by Mangin, but they were all be-
low the Chemin des Dames, and April came
to an end with the road to Laon as impass-
able as ever. Fresh attempts were made in
May; Craonne was taken on the 4th, and
the California plateau to the north of it
and Chevreux in the plain to the east were
seized on the 6th and held against counter-
attacks, while east of Reims Auberive had
fallen, and by the 20th the whole summit
of the Moronvillers massif was said to have
been secured.
    The impression that the Chemin des Dames
had been conquered was not removed until
it really was gained by P´tain five months
later; but there was contrast enough be-
tween the promises and the achievement to
produce the deepest depression in France.
On 28 April P´tain was appointed chief of
staff and on 15 May commander-in-chief in
succession to Nivelle, while Foch became
chief of staff. Little was wisely revealed
abroad of French despondency or the ef-
fect of the disappointment on the moral of
the army. But French journals began to
clamour for unity of command of all the
forces in France under a French generalis-
             e                     c
simo, pour ´pargner du sang Fran¸ais, as
one of them expressed it; and prudence con-
strained the higher command to revert to
those limited objectives which Nivelle had
abandoned. Joffre was sent to the United
States to place the situation before the sister-
republic; and but for American intervention
France would have been nearer a peace of
compromise in May 1917 than at any pre-
vious date in the war. The second bat-
tle of the Aisne gave rise to that miasma
of d´faitisme, associated with the names of
Bolo and Caillaux, which enfeebled the spirit
and effort of France until they were revived
by Cl´menceau’s vigorous stimulants.
    Haig was also laid under an obligation
to relieve the pressure and gloom by pro-
longing his Arras offensive and seeking to
extract more from his victory than it would
yield; and the second phase of that battle
was fought under a shadow and under con-
straint. But if it resulted in serious losses,
it brought some additions to our gains of
ground. On 23 April Gavrelle and Gu´mappe
were captured after desperate fighting; and
on the 28th an advance was made at Ar-
leux and Oppy. On 3 May the Canadians
took Fresnoy, and the Australians trenches
at Bullecourt, but the Germans kept up
a series of stubborn counter-attacks, espe-
cially at Fresnoy, Roeulx, and Bullecourt,
and Fresnoy was lost on the 8th. On the
14th we completed our capture of Roeulx,
and on the 17th that of Bullecourt. The
fighting died down, towards the end of May,
and the scene was shifted farther north in
June to the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge. Dur-
ing the month of the battle of Arras we had
taken over 20,000 prisoners, and the French
claimed more on the Aisne. We had also
bitten into the Hindenburg ”line.” But that
line had not been broken, mainly because
it was not a line, having instead of none
a breadth of several miles; and, apart from
the important Vimy Ridge, the German po-
sition had not been greatly shaken. The
warfare was one of attrition, and the true
test was that of wastage, which can only be
used when the losses on both sides are ex-
actly known. There was evidence that the
Germans were feeling the strain, but so was
the Entente, and the influx of troops from
the Eastern front, which began in April and
was felt in the Arras battle, would more
than compensate for the excess (if any) in
German losses. It was also clear by this
time that the Germans had gained another
great advantage. They might lose the war,
but they would lose it in France, and the
Fatherland would not suffer the destruction
and desolation which it had inflicted on all
its foes except the British Empire and the
United States. The Germans were wisely
bent on fighting to a finish where Hinden-
burg had fixed his lines; they were beaten
there, but snatched immunity from ruin for
German soil out of their defeat. Nivelle’s
failure in April 1917 combined with the Rus-
sian collapse to preclude an Entente rep-
etition of the German invasion of August
1914; and Lord Curzon’s mental vision of
Gurkhas encamping in Berlin was destined
to remain a dream.
    The breakdown of Russia and of the French
campaign paralysed other offensives than
those on the Western front, and a sympa-
thetic inertia spread to the Balkans. At
the end of February Sarrail had told his
commanders that he intended attacking all
along the line at Salonika in the first week
of April as his contribution to the compre-
hensive Allied advance. But local opera-
tions in March, which succeeded in linking
up the Italians east of Avlona with Sarrail’s
left, did not lead up to the expected cli-
max. The offensive was postponed until 24
April, and then it was only British troops
that were sent into serious action. The de-
sired economy of French blood was effected
by a French commander-in-chief at the cost
of general failure. A frontal attack by Gen-
eral Milne’s forces was ordered on the cen-
tral position at Doiran; considerable losses
were incurred, and gains were secured that
made no essential difference to the situa-
tion. West of the Vardar and in front of
Monastir no advance was attempted; but
on 8 May Milne was told to repeat his ef-
fort, which had similar results to those of
his first; and Sarrail was presently super-
seded by Franchet d’Esperey.
    Nevertheless the Russian revolution had
one beneficial effect upon the Balkan situa-
tion. It removed one of the two influences
which had protected Constantine and en-
abled him to counterwork Entente policy
and strategy in the Near East. The other
was neutralized by connivance in Italy’s procla-
mation of a protectorate over Albania on 3
June; and with this compensation she was
induced to remove her ban on Venizelos and
to risk that greater Greece, which with a
free hand that statesman bade fair to achieve.
France was whole-hearted in supporting him.
The chief islands had one by one rallied to
his cause in the spring, and by the end of
May he had 60,000 troops at his disposal.
On 11 June M. Jonnart arrived at Athens
as plenipotentiary for the Entente to insist
on Constantine’s abdication. Troops were
moved down into Thessaly; the Isthmus of
Corinth was seized, and warships anchored
off the Piraeus. Constantine had no choice,
and under compulsion nominated his sec-
ond son Alexander as his successor. On the
13th he left Athens for Lugano, and on the
21st Venizelos arrived from Salonika and
formed a government. The German agents
were expelled, and the Greek people were
reconciled to the violence of the proceed-
ings by the substantial consolation of the
raising of the blockade. Less happy was the
effect of the Russian revolution in Asia Mi-
nor. All idea of an advance from Trebizond
and Erzingian came to an end, and the pro-
jected campaign which was to have given
the Russians Mosul while Maude advanced
to Baghdad was abandoned. On 30 April
the Turks announced that the enemy had
evacuated Mush. In May they left the Di-
alah, and in July retreated from Khanikin
into Persia, leaving the British right wing in
the air. Gradually they abandoned Persia
to the principle of self-determination and
to the Turks, and Armenia to fresh exper-
iments in massacre. Even on the Salonika
front Sarrail suffered from the retiring habits
of his Russian troops, and at Gaza Mur-
ray felt the force of Turkish divisions re-
leased from Russian fronts. There were at
least six divisions to oppose him when he
renewed his attack after three weeks’ in-
terval on 17th April. His communications
had been greatly improved and the railway
brought up to Deir-el-Belah, but so too had
the Turkish defences, and there was little to
say for a frontal attack by inferior forces
without the chance of surprise. The po-
litical demand for an Egyptian contribu-
tion to the combined Allied offensive seems,
however, to have been inexorable, and Sir
Charles Dobell was committed to an en-
terprise not unlike our attacks in Gallipoli.
Some initial success was won on the 17th,
and the ground gained was prepared on the
18th for a final effort on the following day.
Samson Ridge near the coast was taken,
but Ali Muntar defied all our efforts, and
counter-attacks deprived us of much of the
ground that was won. Seven thousand men
had been lost, and Turkish reinforcements
were still arriving. Gaza could not be taken
by frontal attack without greatly superior
forces; and the British had to look for suc-
cess to another general and a different strat-
egy, and to postpone from Easter to Christ-
mas their Christian celebrations in Jerusalem.
The brightness of dawn in the East was
clouded, and the flowers of hope that bloomed
in the spring drooped in the Syrian summer
and in the furnace of war in the West.
    THE breakdown of the strategical offen-
sive of the Entente in the spring of 1917 was
almost complete. Russia had gone her own
way to military insignificance, France had
failed in her far-reaching design of crushing
the German front on the Aisne, Haig’s vic-
tory at the battle of Arras secured merely
a tactical advantage, the offensive from Sa-
lonika never started, and that from Egypt
was held up at the gates of Palestine. In the
absence of a combined General Staff for the
Entente, it required months of individual
thought and interchange of views to elabo-
rate any alternative scheme and to readjust
national forces for its execution; and the
campaigning season would assuredly close
before effect could be given to a fresh plan
of campaign. The new Governments in Eng-
land and France showed no greater fore-
sight than the old, and had made no fur-
ther progress towards a single strategical
mind. Indeed, for the rest of 1917 diver-
gence seemed to grow, and there was no
such combined operation as the Somme cam-
paign of 1916.

Activity travelled away from
the point of liaison, and each
concentrated its attention more and more
on its own particular front. Italy as usual
had eyes only for Trieste and Albania, France
turned from the Somme and the Oise to
the Aisne and Verdun, and England’s ef-
fort came north towards the Belgian coast.
This divergence resulted from the changed
view of the military situation imposed upon
the Entente by Nivelle’s failure. He had be-
lieved that the time had come for ambitious
objectives; Haig had demurred and clung
to the idea of operations limited in their
scope like that of the Somme; and P´tain
accepted that view when he succeeded Niv-
elle. There might, of course, have been lim-
ited offensives on the upper Somme and the
Oise where the two armies joined; but it
was here that the Siegfried line most firmly
barred the way, and when towards the end
of the year a new tactic had been evolved to
surmount that barrier, it was applied pre-
maturely and without French co-operation.
The unity of the Entente did not extend to
community of ideas or simultaneous experi-
ment; and novelties which might have been
overwhelming if tried in unison all along the
line only achieved a partial success when
adopted by one of the Allies on a limited
    Given, however, the impossibility of an-
other combined strategical plan for 1917,
there were urgent motives and sound rea-
sons for the extension of Haig’s offensive
northwards from Arras to the coast. If it
were successful beyond expectation, it would
achieve all that Nivelle had hoped to do by
a frontal attack, and would compel a gen-
eral German retreat by turning the enemy’s
flank as Joffre had tried to turn it in Octo-
ber 1914. But short of such extravagant an-
ticipations it might materially help to win
the war by defeating the real German of-
fensive for 1917. That was not a campaign
on land at all, but on sea by means of the
submarine, and the chief basis of operations
was the Belgian coast. Submarines emerged
from other lairs, but the German command
of the Belgian coast shortened their dis-
tance from their objectives by hundreds of
miles and correspondingly lengthened their
range of operations. Bruges was their head-
quarters; situated inland, but connected by
canal with Zeebrugge and Ostend, it af-
forded a base immune from any attack save
those of aircraft, and Bruges was the real
objective of our Flanders campaign. Inci-
dentally, too, the Belgian coast provided
harbours whence light German surface craft
made occasional raids on British coasts, com-
merce, and communications, and also for
those aeroplane attacks which became a se-
rious nuisance as the year wore on. Apart
from these considerations the German hold
on Flanders was the bastion of their whole
position west of the Meuse; and, but for the
natural feelings of Paris, a more strenuous
attempt might well have been made earlier
in the war to deprive the enemy of its ad-
vantages. Obviously in the summer of 1917,
if the two Allies were to be left to their
own devices, there was none which suited
us better than the Flanders campaign, and
the official American commentator opined
that it held out more fruitful prospects than
the battle of the Somme. The drawback
was that campaigning in Flanders depended
upon the weather: a rainy season turned its
flats into seas of mud, and the third quarter
of 1917 was one of the wettest on record.
    A preliminary obstacle to be overcome
was the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge which
dominated Ypres and the whole of the line
from which an offensive in Flanders could
start. Preparations to deal with it had been
in progress since early in the year, and heavy
guns had also been mounted on our posi-
tions near Nieuport. The plan indeed had
been in Haig’s mind since November 1916,
and even earlier than that Sir Herbert Plumer
had been training the Second Army for its
task; it had had no serious fighting since
the second battle of Ypres in April 1916,
the battle of the Somme having been fought
by the Fourth and Fifth, and that of Arras
by the First and Third. The victory, how-
ever, was to be largely a triumph of engi-
neering science. For nearly a year and a half
tunnelling had been in progress under the
ridge, and at dawn on 7 June nineteen huge
mines were exploded beneath the enemy’s
lines in the greatest artificial eruption that
had ever shattered the earth’s crust. Ten
days’ surface bombardment had already oblit-
erated much of the German defences, and it
says something for the German moral that
any resistance was offered at all when our
troops advanced over the ruins of the soil.
Messines was cleared by New Zealanders by
7 a.m., Wytschaete fell by noon before Ul-
stermen and Irish Nationalists fighting side
by side, and Welshmen captured Oosttav-
erne a few hours later. The battle could
not have have been better staged to exhibit
the co-operation of the British Empire and
of mechanical science and human valour.
A few days later Australians pushed on to
Gapaard and La Potterie in the direction
of Warneton, and the Germans withdrew
from all their positions in the salient. The
danger to Ypres which had threatened for
over two years and a half and had cost so
much in British blood, had at last been ex-
orcised, and from being an almost forlorn
hope of defence the Ypres salient became
the base of a promising advance (see Map,
p. 288).
    Yet the operation hardly equalled in pos-
itive achievement its spectacular advertise-
ment. Months, if not years, of meticulous
preparation in a sector that had not been
seriously disturbed by fighting since 1915
had produced an advance of from two to
three miles on a front of less than ten. It
was a tactical victory of the most limited
character; and the strategical value of the
ridge was greatly exaggerated. It had never
enabled the Germans to master the Ypres
salient, and as the autumn showed, its con-
quest made no serious gap in the strength
of the German defences. Neither on the
Belgian coast nor on the Lys which pro-
tected Lille did the German line budge one
inch in three months’ strenuous fighting;
and the salient created by that campaign
between the coast and the Lys melted like
wax in the furnace of the German offensive
ten months later. Plumer’s success might,
however, have led to better things but for
the untoward circumstances which hampered
the Flanders campaign from the start. One
of these was its initial delay; seven weeks
elapsed before the conquest of the ridge was
followed up, and the causes are still ob-
scure. Probably they were political. Bel-
gium, notwithstanding her passion for lib-
eration, cannot have desired the rest of her
soil to be restored in the condition of the
Wytschaete ridge–a horror of desolation un-
fit for man or even for nature’s growths;
and there seemed little prospect of driving
the Germans out except by a succession of
ruinous tactical victories. Germany, more-
over, was playing up to the Stockholm Con-
ference and suggesting restoration without
the accompaniment of ruin; and it was clear
that if the Entente was to liberate Belgium,
it must be done by other methods and at a
lesser cost than the total destruction of her
    Preparations for other than limited tac-
tical gains were made during June and July.
The Third Army under Byng, who had suc-
ceeded Allenby, was put in charge of the
whole British line from Arras southwards,
and Rawlinson’s Fourth and Gough’s Fifth
Armies were brought up to the coast and
Ypres respectively, while a French army un-
der Anthoine was located between Gough’s
and the Belgians on the Yser. The Ger-
mans were alarmed by Rawlinson’s appear-
ance on the coast, and anticipated a possi-
ble attack in that sector by delivering a de-
fensive blow on 10 July against the bridge-
head we held north-east of the Yser be-
tween Nieuport and the coast. We were ap-
parently not prepared: two battalions were
wiped out, part of the bridgehead was lost,
and Rawlinson’s Fourth Army remained a
more or less passive spectator of the subse-
quent campaign. Its own chance of making
a thrust had gone, and it waited in vain
for the thrust elsewhere to turn the gate
the Germans had barred between the Yser
floods and the sea.
    This reverse did not tend to expedite the
campaign, and when it was finally launched
on 31 July the weather interposed a third
and fatal impediment. The first attack was
successful enough. The French under An-
thoine took Het Saas, Steenstrat, and Bixschoote;
on their right Gough’s Fifth seized Pilckem,
St. Julien, Frezenberg, Verlorenhoek, West-
hoek, and Hooge, the banks of the Steen-
beck and the woods on the Menin road; and
below that blood-stained highway Plumer’s
Second took Klein Zillebeke, Hollebeke, and
Basse Ville on the Lys. It was, however,
Von Arnim’s plan to hold his front lines
lightly and rely upon counter-attacks, and
before the end of the day we had lost St.
Julien, the north-east bank of the Steen-
beck, and Westhoek. The key of the Ger-
man position on the Menin road also re-
mained in Von Arnim’s hands, and no means
had been found of dealing with his new and
effective ”pill-boxes.” These were concrete
huts with walls three feet thick, so sunk in
the ground that their existence, or at least
their importance, had escaped observation.
They were too solid for Tanks to charge or
for field guns to batter, and too small for
accurate shelling by heavy artillery. Yet,
crammed with machine guns and skilfully
´cheloned in the fighting zone, they pre-
sented a fatal bar to the rapid advance on
which the success of our plan of campaign
depended. Even so, it was not Von Arnim’s
skill and resource that finally ruined our
prospects. Before night fell on the 31st the
rain descended in torrents. For four days it
continued, and even when it ceased it was
followed by darkness worthier of November
than of August. The field of battle was
turned into a maze of lakes and bogs with
endless shell-holes filled and hidden by the
muddy water. The bombardment had bro-
ken the banks and dammed the streams,
and rivers, instead of flowing, overflowed.
Tanks became useless, and for men and ani-
mals there was as much risk of being drowned
as shot.
    The Germans were not immune from the
weather; their counter-attacks were impeded,
and their low-lying pillboxes were often traps
for death by drowning. But enforced stag-
nation inevitably helps the defence, espe-
cially when time is the essence of success
for the attack. Troops were pouring back
from the Russian front; winter was coming
to postpone until the spring any hopes of a
drier soil, and the land lay low in Belgium
all the way beyond the puny ridge of Pass-
chendaele. It would have been wiser to ac-
cept the facts of the situation; but bull-dog
tenacity has its defects, and that national
totem is more remarkable for its persistence
than for its discernment. On 3 August we
regained St. Julien, on the 10th Westhoek,
and on the 16th resumed the general move-
ment. It made little appreciable progress
on the right or in the centre, but on the left
the French advanced from the Yser canal
towards the Martjevaart, and our men took
Wijdendrift and Langemarck. For the rest
of the month it rained, and it was not till
20 September that the conditions were con-
sidered good enough for an attempt on the
limited objectives to which our ambition
was now reduced. It achieved better suc-
cess than on 16 August, and the advance
made along both sides of the Menin road
was through difficult woods; but it nowhere
exceeded a mile, the fighting was fearfully
costly, and Veldhoek and Zevencote were
the only two hamlets gained. On the 26th
Haig struck again with similar results: Zon-
nebeke was captured, the woods cleared up
to the outskirts of Reutel, and another ad-
vance made on the Menin road.
    Fierce German counter-attacks were re-
pulsed during the next few days, and on 4
October our offensive was resumed. Once
more the weather played us false, but with-
out the usual effect, and substantial progress
was made all along the front. Part of Poel-
capelle was taken, Grafenstafel fell into our
hands, at Broodeseinde the Australians got
a footing on the Passchendaele ridge, Reu-
tel was captured, and Polderhoek chˆteau,
the hinge of the German position, was stormed
–only to be lost and retaken more than once
before it was finally left in German pos-
session. The next attack was designed to
broaden our salient to the north between
the Yser and the Houthulst Forest. It was
fixed for 9 October, and rain fell as usual
on the 7th and 8th. But once more it failed
to stop our advance. The French and the
British left between them captured St. Jan-
shoek, Mangelaare, Veldhoek, Koekuit, and
the remains ol Poelcapelle, and the Cana-
dians made a further advance on the Pass-
chendaele ridge by way of Nieuemolen and
Keerselaarhoek. Another attack on 12 Oc-
tober was countermanded because of the
rain, but the painful progress was resumed
on 22-26 October. On the 27th the Bel-
gians and French pushed on as far as the
Blankaart Lake and the Houthulst Forest,
taking Luyghem, Merckem, Kippe, and Aschoop,
and on the 3Oth the Canadians forced their
way into the outskirts of Passchendaele. Its
capture was completed on 6 November and
supplemented in the following days by an
advance a few hundred yards along the road
towards Staden.
   The Battles In Flanders
   At last the agony came to an end. The
campaign was a monument of endurance on
the part of the troops engaged, and of obsti-
nacy on the part of their commanders. The
misrepresentation of the results achieved in
the published communiqu´s provoked remon-
strances from officers in the field, and ap-
parent indifference to the losses involved roused
the anger of the Australians–and other troops–
against their generals. Among his own men
Sir Hubert Gough lost more repute in the
Flanders campaign than he did in his later
retreat from St. Quentin. It was the costli-
est of all British advances, and cut the sorri-
est figure in respect of its strategical results.
We had advanced somewhat less than five
miles in over three months, and had gained
a ridge about fifty feet higher than our origi-
nal line at Ypres. The strategical gains were
negligible, and as an incident in the war
of attrition, the campaign cost us far more
than it did the Germans. They could hardly
have desired a better prelude to their com-
ing offensive on the West than this wastage
of first-class British troops. Aided by the
weather, Von Arnim had succeeded in his
design of yielding the minimum of ground
for the maximum of British losses, and the
Flanders campaign was to us what Verdun
had been to the Germans.
    There was a more satisfactory propor-
tion of gains to losses in the more limited
operations which characterized P´tain’s sub-
stitution for Nivelle as French commander-
in-chief. After Nivelle’s comprehensive dis-
appointment on the Chemin des Dames and
Moronvillers heights in April, P´tain restricted
the field of his attacks and took ample time
to prepare them. It was not until August
that the first was launched, and for a sphere
of action P´tain reverted once more to Ver-
dun. The victories of October and Decem-
ber 1916 were commonly represented as hav-
ing recovered all that the Germans had won
in the spring of that year; in fact they were
confined to the right bank of the Meuse. No
attempt had been made to wrest from the
enemy his gains to the left of the river; and
his line ran in August 1917 precisely where
it had run twelve months before, a German
gain at the Col de Pommerieux on 28 June
having been recovered by the French on 17
July. P´tain was, however, a past-master in
the art of limited offensives; his aims were
less ambitious than those which Nivelle or
even Haig had set before themselves, but
he achieved them with scientific precision
and without the devastating losses which
had attended the larger and less successful
projects. The terrain he selected was less
affected by the vagaries of the weather, and
either he was better served by his meteo-
rological experts or was singularly favoured
by fortune. His main object was not the
tactical gains he secured, but the restora-
tion of the confidence of French soldiers in
their offensive capacity which had been severely
shaken in April. During June and July they
had been mainly engaged in repelling Ger-
man attacks on the Chemin des Dames, though
Gouraud, who succeeded Anthoine in the
Champagne command, secured some valu-
able local gains on the Moronvillers heights.
    The attack at Verdun was entrusted to
Guillaumat, and his bombardment began
on 17 August. The Germans anticipated an
offensive on the left bank of the Meuse, but
not the extension which Guillaumat had planned
on the right bank as well. The weather was
as fair at Verdun as it was foul in Flanders,
and while Haig’s men floundered in seas of
mud, the worst against which P´tain’s had
to contend was clouds of dust. Their ar-
tillery had destroyed the German defences
on Mort Homme, and when the infantry ad-
vanced on the 20th they carried it, the Avo-
court wood, the Bois de Cumi`res, and the
Bois des Corbeaux, in a few hours with lit-
tle loss. Simultaneously on the right bank
of the river they captured Talou Hill, Champ-
neuville, Mormont farm, and part of the
Bois des Fosses. On the following day the
Cote de l’Oie and Regn´ville fell on the left
bank, and Samogneux on the right. On the
24th the French took Camard wood and Hill
304 and advanced to the south bank of the
Forges brook, which remained their line un-
til the American attack in October 1918,
while further progress was made east of the
Meuse on the 25th until the outskirts of
Beaumont were reached. A fortnight later
another slight advance was made between
Beaumont and Ornes, and on both banks
of the Meuse the line was at length restored
to almost its position before the great Ger-
man offensive of 21 February 1916. But
Brabant-sur-Meuse, Haumont, Beaumont,
and Ornes remained in German hands, and
no attempt had been made to recover the
line the French had then held on the road
to Etain (see Map, p. 194). Verdun might
now have been thought quite secure but for
the fact that equal success on the Chemin
des Dames in October did not save it from
the Germans seven months later.
    This second of P´tain’s limited offen-
sives was carried out by Maistre and led to a
more extended German retirement. But the
attack was only on a four miles’ front east-
ward from Laffaux in the angle made by the
German retreat in the spring between the
Forest of St. Gobain and the Chemin des
Dames (see Map, p. 67). It was preceded
by a week’s intense bombardment which, as
at Verdun, destroyed the German defences;
and although it was made in fog and rain
the high ground did not suffer like Flan-
ders from the effects, and the French at-
tack was immediately and completely suc-
cessful. Allemant, Vaudesson, Malmaison,
and Chavignon, with 8000 prisoners, were
taken on 23 October, and by the 27th the
French had captured Pinon, Pargny, and Fi-
lain, and pressed through the Pinon forest
to the banks of the Ailette and the Oise
and Aisne canal. This advance turned the
line which the Germans still held on the
Chemin des Dames, and they found it un-
tenable. On 2 November they withdrew
down the slopes to the north bank of the
Ailette, and the French occupied without
resistance Courte¸on, Cerny, Allies, and Chevreux,
which they had vainly with thousands of ca-
sualties endeavoured to seize in April and
May. The Chemin des Dames was now re-
ally won, and the contrast was pointed be-
tween the two methods and their success.
P´tain’s more limited offensive secured the
greater strategical gains. But the French
rather forgot the ease with which they fi-
nally won the Chemin des Dames in the
losses their earlier efforts had cost them,
and were to lose it once more because they
thought it impregnable.
    In spite of experience the Entente was
slow in learning not to underestimate the
military resourcefulness of the Germans, and
P´tain’s victories, coupled with the failure
of the Germans to react, provoked a jubila-
tion which was not justified. To the Ger-
man Higher Command the loss of a few
square miles at Verdun and the Chemin des
Dames was a mere matter of detail com-
pared with the ambitious strategy it now
had in mind. Situated as the Germans were
between two fronts, they were quicker to
grasp the significance of events in the East
than were Western Powers; and the collapse
of Russia had already inspired Ludendorff
with the idea and hopes of a final and vic-
torious offensive on the West in the spring
of 1918. It must come soon, or the ad-
vent of American armies would make it too
late. Even the French and British forces
were serious enough, and an obvious prelim-
inary would be to weaken the enemy line in
France by a diversion. The Germans knew
enough about Italy to be confident that a
staggering blow would not be difficult to
deal, and that if it were dealt it would com-
pel France and Great Britain to go to the
rescue of their distressful ally. Italy had all
along been inviting some such blow by her
concentration on Trieste, a divergent quest
after booty which led away from the en-
emy’s vital parts; for the Adriatic was al-
ready closed to the Central Empires by the
French and British fleets, and the fall of
Trieste, however gratifying it might be to
Irredentists –though Trieste had never be-
longed to Italy or Italian rulers –would have
no appreciable effect upon the issue of the
war. That quest, moreover, left the Ital-
ian flank, upon which its front entirely de-
pended, exposed at Caporetto. It was not,
indeed, probable that the Italians would have
advanced very far had they set their faces
towards Vienna; but if their front had faced
in that direction, they would not have pro-
voked the disastrous collapse of their whole
campaign in the last week of October 1917.
Hitherto Russia had prevented the Central
Empires from seizing the opportunity which
Italy offered; but the triumph of Bolshe-
vism removed that protection and also sup-
plied the Germans with political means for
advancing their military ends. Not a few
Italian troops had succumbed to propaganda,
and when the crisis came they imitated Rus-
sian examples in a way which provoked Cadorna–
in a censored message–to speak of their ”naked
    The valour which other Italian troops
had shown during the summer and their
success on the Bainsizza plateau had not
prepared Italy or her Allies for so great a
reversal of fortune in the autumn. The at-
tempt after the fall of Gorizia in August
1916 to force a way to Trieste had been
checked by the formidable bastion of Mount
Hermada, and in May 1917 Cadorna turned
to the other great obstacle to his eastward
advance, the Selva di Ternova with its peaks
M. San Gabriele and M. San Daniele, which
dominated the valley of the Vippacco and
the railway to Trieste running along it. But
these peaks could not be taken by a frontal
attack, and an effort was made to outflank
them from the north by seizing the Bain-
sizza plateau and the Chiapovano valley be-
hind it. A week from 14 May was spent in
the preliminary operation of extending the
Italian hold over the east bank of the Isonzo
above and below Plava, and in seizing the
westerly edge of the Bainsizza plateau with
its two peaks, M. Kuk and M. Vodice. This
advance over difficult country required great
endurance and valour, but it fell short of an-
ticipations, and on the 23rd Cadorna struck
another blow in the direction of the Her-
mada. Hudi Log, Jamiano, Flondar, and
San Giovanni were captured, and for a mo-
ment a footing was gained in Kostanjevica
and on the lower slopes of Hermada; but
an Austrian counter-attack on 5 June re-
covered Flondar and drove the Italians off
the Hermada.
    It was clear that Italy unaided could not
achieve even the limited objective of Trieste
on which she had set her heart, and in July
Cadorna appealed for help to Great Britain
and France. The former sent and the lat-
ter promised some batteries of artillery, but
no infantry could be spared in view of our
commitment to the Flanders campaign and
of French caution after the failure on the
Chemin des Dames; and in August Cadorna
resumed his attack alone. It was dictated
by political rather than military motives;
for there was discontent in Italy which the
most rigorous censorship could not conceal,
and the reference in the Pope’s peace note
of August to ”useless slaughter” evoked se-
rious echoes in a public mind which found
inadequate compensation for the meagre and
costly results of the Italian campaign in its
splendid advertisement by the Italian Gov-
ernment. Italy needed a victory, and Cadorna
achieved enough to keep up the illusion of
triumphant progress. The bombardment
began on 18 August and the infantry at-
tack on the 19th over an extended front of
thirty miles from Lom to the north of the
Bainsizza plateau to the Hermada and the
shores of the Adriatic. Most of the Bain-
sizza plateau was overrun, Monte Santo at
its southern extremity was captured, and
the Italians recovered a footing on the Her-
mada. A terrific and bloody battle was
waged early in September for the key-position
at M. San Gabriele, but heavy Austrian
reinforcements from Russia prevented the
Italians from mastering the crest. On the
5th they were again driven back from the
Hermada and San Giovanni, while away in
the north they failed to take the heights of
Lom. This held up their further advance
across the Bainsizza plateau, and its east-
ern half, containing peaks a thousand feet
higher than any the Italians had conquered,
remained in Austrian hands. No real progress
had been made, the partial occupation of
the Bainsizza plateau proved useless, the
losses had been tremendous, and at the end
of September Cadorna reported that his main
operations were at an end. Eleven of the
sixteen British batteries were recalled, the
French were countermanded, and the ball
was left at Ludendorff’s feet.
    He had begun his preparations in Au-
gust when Otto von Buelow was transferred
from the West to the Italian front and given
an army composed of six German and seven
Austrian divisions. The control of the cam-
paign was taken over by the German Higher
Command, and the troops had been trained
in the new tactics which were tried by Von
Hutier at Riga in the first week in Septem-
ber and were to be used to more serious
purpose at Caporetto in October and on
the Western front in 1918. Time was of the
essence of Ludendorff’s strategy; he could
not afford, with the American peril in prospect,
to prolong the war by fighting in trenches
and merely defending the Hindenburg lines.
Nor could he even afford that deliberate
method of progress favoured by Haig and
P´tain, which consisted in rapid advances
on limited fronts to limited objectives, or
in snail-like movements over wider areas.
The strategy which by intense bombard-
ment drove the enemy back a mile or two
at the cost of so devastating the ground as
to make one’s own advance impossible for
weeks, could not achieve a decision within
the time at Ludendorff’s disposal. Some
means must be found of reviving the war of
movement and repeating in a more decisive
form the German march of August 1914.
The bombardment of devastation must there-
fore be sacrificed in the interests of the pur-
suing troops, and its place be taken by gas
shells; and the enemy line must be broken
by the superiority of picked battalions and
greater concentration of machine guns and
other portable weapons. The line once bro-
ken, the advantage must be followed up by
a series of fresh divisions passing through
and beyond the others like successive waves,
maintaining the continuity of the flowing
tide. The Eastern front was used as a train-
ing ground for these new tactics, which served
Ludendorff better than any advance into
Russia could have done; and they came as
a complete surprise at Caporetto.
    That was not, indeed, particularly good
terrain for the experiment, and in order to
hoodwink the Italians more effectively Von
Buelow did not select for his attack any
sector indicated by the principal Austrian
lines of communication. But these defects
of Alpine country were counterbalanced by
the weak moral of the troops opposed to
him. One symptom of Italian instability
had been outbreaks during the summer at
Turin in which soldiers had fraternized with
the rioters, and the mutinous regiments were
sent as a penance to that sector of the front
which Von Buelow was well-informed enough
to select for his offensive. But the ner-
vousness was general: Italians had never
yet met German troops in battle, save per-
haps in small encounters with diminutive
units in Macedonia, and some consterna-
tion was created when, about the middle
of October, it was ascertained that there
were German divisions on the Italian front;
and presently popular imagination magni-
fied Von Buelow’s thirteen divisions into the
combined weight of the Central Empires,
with Mackensen at its head as a bogey-man.
That was at least a more acceptable ex-
planation than the real one of the disaster
which overtook the Italian Army. But it is
impossible to gauge with any exactness the
extent or effect of German intrigue and Bol-
shevist propaganda upon the Italian situa-
tion. Bolshevist envoys had been received
with open arms at Turin, and Orlando, then
Minister of the Interior, had refrained on
principle from hampering their activities.
More singular was the coincidence of Von
Buelow’s offensive with a Parliamentary cri-
sis which precipitated the fall of the Boselli
    The German attack began on 24 Octo-
ber amid rain and snow, which never de-
terred the Germans, and on this occasion
even assisted them by increasing the ele-
ment of surprise. The infected front of the
Second Army between Zaga and Auzza broke
with such celerity that by dawn of the 25th
Von Buelow’s men had crossed the Isonzo,
scaled Mount Matajur, 5000 feet high, and
were pouring across the Italian frontier; and
the gains of twenty-nine months were lost
in as many hours. Elsewhere Italian troops
fought with splendid determination, and the
garrison of M. Nero held out for days and
died to a man, while their comrades at Ca-
poretto greeted the enemy with white flags,
and reserves withheld their assistance. Gal-
lantry to the left and right availed nothing
against poltroonery in the centre: the Bain-
sizza plateau was lost, and the Third Army
on the Carso was in dire peril of being cut
off from its retreat. Nothing but retreat,
and perhaps not even that, was open to the
other armies, with the Second in the cen-
tre fleeing like a rabble and Von Buelow
threatening the left and right in the rear.
On the 27th Cividale, on the 28th Gorizia,
and on the 29th Udine, twelve miles within
the Italian frontier, fell, and Von Buelow
had taken 100,000 prisoners and 700 guns.
The Third Army escaped by the skin of its
teeth, the excellence of its discipline, and
the sacrifice of its rearguards and 500 guns
at the crossing of the Tagliamento at Lati-
sana on 1 November. Then the rain came
down, and no believer in Jupiter Pluvius
as a German god could maintain that that
river had been turned into a roaring torrent
in the interests of the German pursuit.
    The Tagliamento could, however, be eas-
ily turned from the north, and the Italian
retreat continued across the Livenza and
the Piave where Cadorna stood on 10 Novem-
ber. The Adige farther south was consid-
ered by many to be Italy’s real strategic
frontier, but the abandonment of the Pi-
ave would surrender Venice to the enemy,
and Venice was Italy’s one naval base in the
northern Adriatic. It must be retained, or
the Italian Fleet would have to withdraw to
Brindisi and leave the Adriatic and Italy’s
eastern coast open to incursion from Pola.
But if the Piave was to be held, the Ger-
man threat to turn it by a descent from
the Alps down either side of the Brenta
valley must be defeated; and it was here
that the Caporetto campaign was fought
to a standstill in November and December.
Fortunately Ludendorff had not been pre-
pared for the magnitude of his own suc-
cess, and Von Buelow’s thirteen divisions
had not been cast for the part of destroying
the Italian armies. Their object had been
twofold, firstly to compel France and Great
Britain to weaken their front by sending
aid to Italy, and secondly, to secure plunder
in the shape of guns, munitions, and corn-
growing territory. The Kaiser boasted that
his armies had been set up for some time by
this Italian success, and Italy’s two Allies
had no choice but to send divisions to her
assistance, the French under Fayolle and
the British under Plumer. With that the
Germans were content, and although the
Austrians continued their efforts to force
the Piave and turn its flank down the Brenta
valley, Von Buelow’s six German divisions
took little part in the fighting and were soon
with their general sent back to the Western
    No light task remained for the shattered
Italian armies, for the Austrians had been
greatly reinvigorated by their success, and
continual reinforcements were arriving from
the Russian front. Italy had never been a
match unaided for her hereditary foes, and
the prospect of British and French assis-
tance was needed to stem the torrent of in-
vasion descending from the mountains. The
Italians fought well, and politically the na-
tion pulled itself together; but one by one
the Austrians captured in November the heights
between the Piave and the Brenta which
protected the Venetian plain, and it was
not until 4 December that the French and
British were able to relieve the pressure by
taking up their respective quarters on the
two cardinal positions of M. Grappa and
the Montello. Even so the Austrian advance
continued, while a bridgehead was secured
across the Piave at Zenson. After a four
days’ battle on 11-15 December the Austri-
ans reached the limits of their invasion at
M. Asolone and M. Tomba on the east, and
M. Melago on the west, of the Brenta valley;
and before the end of the year the Italians
were recovering slopes on M. Asolone and
the French those of M. Tomba, while the
bridgehead at Zenson was destroyed. Fight-
ing went on well into 1918 without much
material change in the situation until Aus-
tria was called upon to take her part in the
final enemy onslaught in June. Neverthe-
less the Central Empires had achieved the
most brilliant of their strategical triumphs.
At slight cost to themselves they had bitten
deep into Italian territory, taken a quarter
of a million prisoners, 1800 guns, and vast
quantities of munitions and stores, and had
imposed a greatly increased strain upon the
Allies who alone stood between them and
victory on that Western front which Luden-
dorff had selected for the final test of war.
    Two gleams of light, one of them quickly
dimmed and the other distant, relieved the
gloom of the last winter of the war. As
the Flanders offensive subsided in the mud,
Haig was preparing another blow by a dif-
ferent hand in a drier land; and he, too,
was working to find an escape from trench-
warfare on lines not unlike those of Luden-
dorff. Both were dissatisfied with the obsta-
cles which intense bombardment, used for
initial success, placed in the way of its pros-
ecution; but by one of the ironies of the war,
while Ludendorff now relied on the superi-
ority of his human material, Haig looked for
success to the greater ingenuity of mechan-
ical contrivance expressed in Tanks. They
were under a cloud in Flanders because they
could not advance upon mud and water;
but on higher ground their improved effi-
ciency and numbers might be used to some
effect. The plan adopted contemplated a
narrow front but an ambitious objective. It
was to break the Hindenburg lines at their
nodal point in front of Cambrai. If success-
ful it would disorganize the whole German
scheme of defence in the West, and would in
any case tend to divert the Germans from
their Italian campaign. The objective was
not Cambrai itself, but to break through
the Hindenburg lines as far as Bourlon and
beyond, and then to take them in reverse
from Bourlon westwards and northwards to
the Sens´e and the Scarpe. In other words,
it appeared to be an experiment in tactics
which might with good fortune develop into
a strategical means of achieving from the
south of Douai and Lille what the Flan-
ders campaign had failed to secure to the
north of them. The German line was thin,
and, had it been made of the stuff of the
Italian line at Caporetto, Haig might have
repeated Ludendorff’s unexpected success.
There was a third and more sinister expla-
nation of the battle of Cambrai, that it was
a practical attempt to answer the gibes in
which the Prime Minister had indulged at
the tactics of the British Army.
    The task was entrusted to the Third Army
which had seen little fighting since the bat-
tle of Arras died down in the spring, and
had been under Sir Julian Byng since Al-
lenby’s transference to Egypt. The attack
began on 20 November; there was no pre-
liminary bombardment to cut up the ground
over which the Tanks, infantry, and cavalry
were to advance, and a single gun gave the
signal for the start amid a favouring fog and
behind a supplementary barrage of smoke
which hid the advance from the German
guns. The Tanks broke through the wire
entanglements and destroyed the nests of
machine guns, while the infantry marched
forward in their track. By nightfall they
had made at points greater progress than
on any previous day in the war. Havrin-
court, Graincourt, and Anneux–four and a
half miles from the morning’s front–fell on
the left; Ribecourt, Marcoing, Neuf wood,
Noyelles, and Masni`res in the centre; and
La Vacquerie, Bonavis, and Lateau wood
on the right. The flies in the ointment of
success were a check in front of Flesqui`res
and a serious lack of foresight on the Scheldt
canal, where the single bridge was broken
at Masni`res and the cavalry were held up
on a front of several miles. But for the
former, Byng might have mastered the vi-
tal Bourlon position, and but for the lat-
ter have crossed the canal in force, broken
the last of the German lines, and taken Ru-
milly, Cr`vecoeur, and possibly Cambrai.
For the Germans had been completely sur-
prised and needed two days to bring up any
adequate reinforcements. The advance con-
tinued at a slower pace on the 21st. Flesqui`res
was taken and then Cantaing and Fontaine-
Notre-Dame; but the bid for Bourlon devel-
oped into a costly, stubborn, and indecisive
struggle for five days while the Germans
were being steadily reinforced.
    On the right Byng pushed out to Ban-
teux, but the end of our advance on the 29th
left us with a rectangular block of territory
loosely attached to our original front. The
German lines had been breached, but once
more it was shown that lines of concrete and
wire fortifications do not roll up like lines of
mere human material without an amount of
pressure which our forces did not permit of
applying. The new Government had been
at least as deaf as the old to Haig’s demands
for men, though the use that had been made
of reserves in Flanders justified some cau-
tion and economy in the supply; and for the
success of his major operation Haig had to
rely on troops which were too few and had
been imperfectly trained. Meanwhile Von
Marwitz, the German commander, admit-
ting the British victory, announced his in-
tention of wiping it out, and gathered six-
teen fresh divisions to effect his purpose
on the 30th. There was ample warning all
along the front, but we had not grasped
the significance of Von Hutier’s tactics at
Riga or Von Buelow’s at Caporetto, nor had
our commanders dreamt that the Germans
without our Tanks could follow the example
we had just set ourselves and attack with-
out a warning bombardment. Their method
was as unexpected as our own, and where
it was applied against our right it was al-
most as successful. From Bonavis south
to Vendhuille all our gains were lost, and
within an hour and a half the Germans had
pierced the line we had held since April and
captured Gonnelieu, Villers-Guislain, and
Gouzeaucourt. Gouzeaucourt was retaken
later in the day, and at Bourlon, where the
new tactics were not employed, the gallantry
of our troops retained the position. More
ground was also recovered next day on our
right, and the German counterattack seemed
to have been exhausted. But it had left us
with an untenable front, and on 4-7 Decem-
ber Haig withdrew from Bourlon and Mar-
coing to the Flesqui`res ridge. Out of sixty
square miles and fourteen villages captured
we retained but sixteen and three respec-
tively, while the Germans had secured seven
square miles and two villages held by us be-
fore the battle began. The fact that our
gains included a seven-mile stretch of the
Siegfried line made no appreciable differ-
ence to the future course of the war; and we
even failed to learn the lesson of our failure.
The innate British conservatism, which was
counteracted in politics by a democratic suf-
frage, retained its unchecked supremacy in
the British Army; and the German tactics
which had robbed us of our gains at Cam-
brai came no less as a surprise to rob us
four months later of things that were much
more serious.
   The Battles Of Arras And Cambrai
   The light of Byng’s success soon died
away and left the gloom to be illumined
by a far-off flicker in the East. Even here
the effects of the Russian collapse dogged
or rather prevented our steps and barred
our advance from Baghdad; and without
Russian co-operation Maude had to think
rather of safeguarding his conquests against
Falkenhayn’s projects from Aleppo than of
striking farther from his narrow base into
the almost limitless enemy country. On 29
September he pushed forward his defences
on the Euphrates by seizing Ramadie and
encircling and compelling the surrender of
the entire Turkish force. In October he oc-
cupied the positions abandoned by the Rus-
sians up to the Persian frontier, and early
in November drove the Turks out of Tekrit
towards Mosul. After destroying the Turk-
ish base we retired; there was now no enemy
either on the Tigris or the Euphrates within
a hundred miles of Baghdad, and Maude’s
work had been rounded off. He died sud-
denly of cholera on the 18th, leaving a rep-
utation second to none in the British Army.
His successor, Sir William Marshall, car-
ried on his work by forcing the Turks east
of the Tigris back into the Jebel Hamrin
mountains in December and then in March
1918, driving them up the Euphrates out
of Hit and Khan Baghdadie to within 250
miles of Aleppo. In May he turned to the
Tigris, retook Tekrit, expelled the Turks
from Jebel Hamrin, Kifri, and Kirkuk, and
forced them back across the Lesser Zab to
within 90 miles of Mosul. But by that time
the public had little attention to spare for
Mesopotamia, the Turks had recovered the
whole of the Russian conquests in Asia Mi-
nor, and had occupied the Caucasus right
across to the Caspian Sea. Marshall’s ef-
forts had to be diverted north-east to bar
the enemy’s way through Persia towards In-
dia; and the advance on Aleppo was left to
the army of Egypt (see Maps, pp. 177, 352).
    Allenby succeeded to its command in
June 1917, and had the summer in which
to prepare his plans. Frontal attacks on
Gaza had failed with too serious losses in
March and April for their repetition to be
risked, especially in view of the care which
had since been taken to add to the Turk-
ish forces and to the strength of their de-
fences; and Allenby discovered the key of
the Turkish position at Beersheba, nearly
thirty miles south-east of Gaza. It was cap-
tured on 31 October with the efficient help
of the Imperial Camel Corps, and on 2 Novem-
ber the enemy was distracted by a second
blow on our extreme left which resulted in
the taking of Sheikh Hasan and the out-
flanking of Gaza between it and the sea.
The whole line between Beersheba and Gaza
had, however, been elaborately fortified, and
it required a week’s strenuous fighting to
reduce it. Then on 6-7 November our left
advanced once more upon Gaza only to find
it practically undefended; and by nightfall
on the 7th Allenby had pushed ten miles
along the coast beyond Gaza. The advance
was now rapid in this direction. On the
9th we occupied Ascalon; on the 14th the
Turks were driven from the junction where
the branch line to Jerusalem joins the main
line running down the coastal plain, and the
Holy City was cut off from rail-communication
with the Turkish base; and on the 16th Jaffa
was captured. Allenby then swung round
towards the east to threaten Jerusalem from
the north, while his right wing pushed up
beyond Hebron along the hills of Judæa. He
wished to avoid battle near the city, and
the Turks made a determined stand to the
north-west of it on the Nebi Samwil ridge.
By 9 December their resistance was over-
come, and Jerusalem was threatened from
the north-west by our left and from the
south-east by our right. It surrendered on
that day, and Allenby made a quiet official
entrance on the 11th. He had succeeded
where Richard Coeur-de-Lion had failed; Jerusalem,
which for 730 years had been in Mohammedan
hands, under first the Saracens and then the
Turks, passed under Christian control; and
there seemed better ground in the twenti-
eth than in the sixteenth century for the
Elizabethan’s exalted question to his com-
patriots, ”Are we not set upon Mount Zion
to give light to all the world?”
    The light was somewhat slow to pene-
trate elsewhere. Even in Palestine it took
Allenby months to substantiate his position.
By the end of December he had pushed
across the El Auja north of Jaffa and taken
Ramah, Beitunia, and Bireh, nine miles north
of Jerusalem; but Jericho did not fall until
21 February, and little impression was made
during the spring upon Mount Ephraim, where
the Turks barred the road to Shechem, or
on their positions east of the Jordan, al-
though the Turks were increasingly harassed
by Arab raids upon the railway leading to
Maan and the Hedjaz. Es Salt was cap-
tured on 1 May, but succumbed to counter-
attacks in which some British guns were
captured. The heat of summer put an end
to active operations, while the Turkish re-
covery at the expense of Russia and the
German victories in Europe counselled cau-
tion, and helped to postpone till the au-
tumn the full fruition of Allenby’s strategy.
He and Maude had nevertheless made our
Eastern campaign the brightest pages in the
sombre history of the war in 1917, and the
fall of Baghdad and Jerusalem contributed
not a little to the collapse of Turkey, which
hastened that of the Central Empires. They
were not divergent operations because they
converged towards the centre, and weak-
ness at the extremities affected the heart
of the Turkish Empire. Germany would
not have succumbed when she did but for
the fate which had overtaken her allies else-
where than on the Western front. But it
was a far cry from these contributory opera-
tions to that policy of concentrating on ”the
vital junction of Muslimieh” which commended
itself to excitable critics, and would have
left our Western front at the mercy of the
most formidable onslaught it ever had to
    We needed all the comfort we could ex-
tract from our Eastern campaigns; for, with
a gigantic German offensive threatening the
West in 1918, we could be none too sure
that we had dealt satisfactorily with the
only serious offensive the Germans had un-
dertaken against us in 1917. That had been
their unlimited submarine warfare, which
had reached its greatest fury in April, when
25 per cent of the vessels leaving British
ports failed to return, but continued through,
out the year to sap our strength like an open
ulcer. The general public knew little of the
truth, and was not competent to measure
the value of such facts as were placed be-
fore it. The Germans’ claim to have sunk
9 million tons in the first year of unre-
stricted warfare was regarded as preposter-
ous, but Sir Eric Geddes himself assessed
the British loss at 6 millions.[Footnote: The
total British loss in the war was 7,731,212
tons. France came next with 900,000 tons.
] Mr. Lloyd George revealed the fact that
we had sunk five German submarines on
17 November, but not the fact that our to-
tal bag for December barely exceeded that
figure; and on the 13th the First Lord of
the Admiralty corrected the optimism of
the Premier’s figure by declaring that the
Germans were building submarines faster
than they lost them, while we were losing
shipping faster than we built it. He was
somewhat more cheerful in his estimate of
the situation on 1 February 1918, but on
5 March had to deplore a falling-off in our
construction, partly at any rate due to the
depletion of man-power in that industry.
Some consolation was found in the fact that
the proportion of our losses to our total
shipping did not greatly exceed that in the
last ten years of the Napoleonic wars; but
the comparison was illusory, because we were
far more dependent upon oversea supplies
in 1917 than in 1812, though so far as food
was concerned the dependence was greatly
relieved in 1918 by the efforts of the Board
of Agriculture. A source of greater pride, if
not of satisfaction, was the fact that our do-
mestic shortage was due less to the sinking
of our ships by German submarines, than
to their diversion to the service of our Al-
lies. Not only had the British Navy to de-
fend all the coasts of the Entente by bot-
tling up the German High Seas Fleet, but
our mercantile marine had to provide for
most of the Allies’ transport and provision-
ing; whereas in the Napoleonic wars we had
for long no allies to maintain and could con-
centrate upon our own requirements. The
unparalleled strain of the war was due to
the unparalleled extent to which the British
Empire placed its resources at the disposal
of less fortunate countries; and fortunately
for Powers, which later on complained of
American interference, the United States
seemed bent in 1918 on bettering our ex-
    Other incidents of naval warfare than
the German submarine campaign added to
the public discomposure. On 17 October
two German cruisers sank two British de-
stroyers and nine convoyed Norwegian mer-
chant ships between the Shetlands and the
Norwegian coast; on 12 December some-
where in the North Sea four German de-
stroyers sank five neutral vessels, four British
armed trawlers, and also one of the two
British destroyers accompanying them, the
other being disabled, while two British trawlers
and two neutral vessels were also sunk off
the Tyne; and on the 23rd, three British
destroyers were mined or torpedoed off the
Dutch coast. On the 26th it was announced
that Sir Rosslyn Wemyss had succeeded Jel-
licoe as First Sea Lord, and other changes
were made at the Admiralty. But the un-
pleasant incidents continued. On 14 Jan-
uary 1918 Yarmouth was, after a long im-
munity from such attacks, once more bom-
barded by enemy destroyers; on 15 Febru-
ary a British trawler and seven drifters were
sunk by similar means in the Straits of Dover;
and on the 24th the safe return was an-
nounced of the German raider Wolf after
a cruise in which she had sunk eleven ves-
sels in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The
extension of submarine warfare to the sink-
ing of hospital ships was more shocking as
an exhibition of barbarity than alarming as
a proof of naval efficiency, and may even
have been designed as a desperate measure
to commit Germany beyond recall to the
alternative of victory or irredeemable ruin.
As an outrage against international moral-
ity it was only exceeded by the torpedoing
on 6 June of a Dutch vessel on which British
delegates were to have gone to The Hague
to discuss with Germans the mutual ame-
lioration of the lot of prisoners of war.
    Side by side with this brutality at sea
there developed a similar offensive in the
air. The Zeppelin menace had been almost
exorcised in the autumn of 1916 by the ef-
fectiveness of explosive bullets fired from
aeroplanes which ignited the gas-bags. But
on 28 November a solitary aeroplane dropped
six bombs on London in full daylight, and
thus gave ample warning of what might fol-
low. No adequate steps were, however, taken
to meet the danger until in the spring and
summer of 1917 it was brought home in a
more emphatic form. On 25 May German
aeroplanes which had been diverted from
their London objective by atmospheric con-
ditions, caused 250 casualties and nearly
inflicted serious military damage at Folke-
stone; and on 13 June the Germans effected
their most successful raid by appearing over
London shortly before noon and killing 157
and wounding 432 men, women, and chil-
dren. The object was avowed in the Ger-
man press by one of the leaders of the expe-
dition to be the demoralization of the civil-
ian population. Its success was due to the
lack of counter-preparations; and when the
experiment was repeated on 7 July four of
the raiders were brought down and the ca-
sualties were reduced to 59 killed and 193
injured. After August the daylight aero-
plane raids were discontinued, but only to
be resumed in moonlight, and on 4 Septem-
ber 11 persons were killed and 62 injured in
a London raid at night. These became al-
most nightly affairs at the end of the month;
and while no single aeroplane raid at night
caused anything like the loss of life inflicted
on 13 June or 7 July, they were sufficiently
distracting, though it pleased the patriotic
press to pretend that only immigrant aliens,
East-End Jews, or at least the poorest of
native Britons, sought safety in flight from
the risks they involved.
    The raids were repeated at irregular in-
tervals, owing to atmospheric conditions,
throughout the winter until Whitsunday 19
May, when 44 were killed and 179 injured.
Generally they occurred when the moon was
nearly full, but on 6 December there was
one when it was in its last quarter and on
18 December another when it was only four
days old, and on 7 March 20 were killed and
55 injured in a raid on a moonless night.
On 19 October these aeroplane raids were
varied by a raid on a moonless night by
Zeppelins which shut off their engines and
drifted across London with a north-west wind,
dropping only three bombs but killing 27
and injuring 53 persons. Six of the raiders
failed to get home, and this was the last
of the Zeppelin so far as London was con-
cerned, though Zeppelin raids were made
as late as 12 and 13 March on the north-
east coast. Reprisals were adopted as a
policy by the British Government in the
autumn of 1917, and great store was set
upon them in some quarters. But in spite
of the vigour with which they were carried
out along the Rhine, there is no reason to
suppose that our aeroplane raids achieved
any greater military effect than that which
we had always denied to German raids on
England. They certainly did not succeed in
curing the Germans of their raiding propen-
sities. That was effected by our improve-
ments in defence, notably in our antiair-
craft bullets and ”aprons” suspended from
balloons; and after Whitsunday, 1918, the
Germans concentrated on the French, al-
though they had shown fewer qualms about
reprisals. Nor did our supremacy in the air
produce the effects which many anticipated
on the field of battle. Italian superiority
with that arm was of little use at Caporetto,
and our superiority did not materially fur-
ther our advance in Flanders in the autumn
of 1917 or retard the German offensive at
St. Quentin in the spring of 1918. Aircraft
were indispensable as eyes for an army, and
to a lesser extent for a navy; but as an inde-
pendent force they were as limited in their
effectiveness as is artillery or cavalry with-
out the fundamental infantry.
    The obvious stalemate which marked the
situation during the first half of the fourth
year of the war imposed upon the belliger-
ents a reconsideration of the political and
military means of bringing it to an end.
Dissatisfaction was naturally more appar-
ent in Germany during the spring and sum-
mer and in Entente countries during the
autumn of 1917; and in July the Reich-
stag passed its famous resolution against
annexations and indemnities. Its idea of
peace was that Germany should forgo an-
nexations, and the Entente its claims to in-
demnities; but the chief anxiety of the Re-
ichstag was to make capital for the cause of
constitutional reform out of the dissatisfac-
tion with Germany’s military situation, and
that was immediately improved by the col-
lapse of the last Russian offensive. Bethmann-
Hollweg fell for failing to control the Reich-
stag, but his successor Michaelis was a mere
Prussian bureaucrat who only accepted the
Reichstag resolution ”as he understood it,”
and the fate of Russia soon made it clear
that his understanding of ”no annexations
and no indemnities” did not preclude the
”liberation” of large parts of Russia and
their subjection to German influence, nor
the insistence upon ”guarantees” which would
reduce Belgium and Serbia to a similar plight.
The Vatican followed the German lead with
a peace note in August which revealed no
clear distinction between its and the Ger-
man point of view; and in October, amid
subdued celebrations of the fourth entenary
of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, Count Hertling
succeeded Michaelis as Imperial Chancel-
lor and became the first Roman Catholic
minister-president of Prussia since the Ref-
    There was, indeed, a fundamental unity
in this apparently discordant combination
between the Protestant and the Ultramon-
tane; for the Hohenzollern State and the
Roman Catholic Church were both systems
organized on that principle of autocracy which
was more and more coming out as the un-
derlying issue of the war, and it coincided
with the fitness of things that the answer to
the Vatican note was returned by the Pres-
ident of the United States. There was, in
fact, no basis of accommodation, and any
desire for it in Germany disappeared with
the temporary improvement in her military
prospects. When the failure of our cam-
paign in Flanders was coupled with the Ital-
ian disaster at Caporetto and the Bolshevik
revolution in Russia, the Reichstag resolu-
tion was spurned, constitutional reform was
smothered, and the Junkers under Luden-
dorff’s able leadership girded themselves for
a final quest of peace by victory with il-
limitable annexations and indemnities. The
Kaiser foreshadowed the coming offensive in
the West by proclaiming that the only way
to peace was one hewn through the ranks
of those who would not make it.
    In spite of this brave show, the Entente
exhibited a truer confidence by expressing
its dissatisfaction not in the form of seeking
a compromise with the enemy, but in criti-
cism of the conduct of the war. There had,
indeed, been some political hesitation at the
time of the Stockholm Conference in the
summer when the Russian revolutionists in-
vited socialists of all countries to consider a
peace without annexations or indemnities.
Even Mr. Lloyd George was subsequently
said by his Labour colleague in the Cab-
inet to have contemplated British partici-
pation; and there were legitimate grounds
for anxiety lest the officially countenanced
if not inspired presence of German socialists
at Stockholm might not give them a polit-
ical advantage over unrepresented Entente
countries. But the danger passed away as
gleams of returning prosperity in the au-
tumn revealed once more the true mental-
ity of the German Government and exposed
the insincerity of its pacific professions; and
precipitate pacifism only revealed itself in
Great Britain in a cautiously worded but
dangerously doubting letter by Lord Lans-
downe, published in the ”Daily Telegraph”
on 29 November. Once more President Wil-
son expressed, in his message of 4 Decem-
ber, the real mind of Germany’s most sober
and serious enemies. He branded German
autocracy as ”a thing without conscience or
honour or capacity for covenanted peace,”
and declared that peace could only come
”when the German people have spokesmen
whose word we can believe, and when those
spokesmen are ready in the name of their
people to accept the common judgment of
the nations as to what shall henceforth be
the bases of law and of covenant for the life
of the world.” Our conception of those bases
was elaborated in a memorandum adopted
by the Labour party later in the month which
was substantially accepted by Mr. Lloyd
George, after consultation with Mr. Asquith,
Viscount Grey, and representatives of the
Dominions, on 5 January 1918; and then
three days later President Wilson defined
the famous Fourteen Points which ultimately
became the basis of the peace.
    There was more heartburning over the
conduct of the war. In France, M. Ribot’s
Government fell in September and was re-
constituted under M. Painlev´. It succumbed
in November to the effects of Caporetto,
and France, like Italy, had to find a new
Prime Minister. Her choice fell upon M.
Cl´menceau, a vigorous veteran of seventy-
six. His supreme quality was an audacity
from which friends as well as foes occasion-
ally suffered, and his great service was the
war he waged upon the half-hearted and the
double-minded of his compatriots. England
escaped a change of Ministry, but not with-
out misgivings or the sacrifice of subordi-
nates on account of a situation for which
Ministers were equally if not more to blame.
There were sweeping changes at the Admi-
ralty, and the mutterings of a Press cam-
paign against Sir William Robertson and
Sir Douglas Haig, for which the Prime Min-
ister had given some ground, if not the sig-
nal, by his reference to the tactics of the
Stone Age. The ultimate cause of his em-
barrassment lay in the extravagant antici-
pations he had encouraged of the results to
follow from his own accession to power. He
had attributed the responsibility for earlier
failures to end the war to his predecessors,
and on his own line of argument he was him-
self responsible for the ill-success of 1917.
In both cases the reasoning was absurd, and
individual Ministers counted for little in the
titanic conflict of forces. Mr. Lloyd George
suffered from the Russian revolution, but
he had a windfall in American intervention;
the ”Victory Loan” of January would not
have saved the Entente from grave finan-
cial difficulties had it not been for American
assistance; and the war seemed at least as
far from an end after a year of the new ad-
ministration as it seemed when Mr. Lloyd
George came in on a promise of speedy suc-
    Nor was his preparation for the coming
crisis marked by greater foresight than the
measures of his predecessors. That it was
coming in the spring was sufficiently ob-
vious in the autumn; intelligent outsiders
predicted in November that there would be
a great German offensive in the West, and
even drew attention to the unmistakable de-
sign of the Germans to weaken our front in
France by the Italian diversion. Yet no se-
rious steps were taken to strengthen that
front in time. The Prime Minister announced
in December that the Russian collapse and
Italian defeat imposed fresh obligations on
Great Britain, but his legislative propos-
als for increasing our man-power were post-
poned till the following session and were
quite inadequate in their scope. Meanwhile
the British front which was doomed to at-
tack was being weakened by being extended
from St. Quentin to Barisis in order to
shorten and therefore strengthen the French
front which was not the German objective.
Steps were, indeed, taken to establish an
Allied military council at Versailles; but the
unity was more apparent than real, and the
council had no authority over the individ-
ual governments or their staffs, and each
continued to feel responsible and anxious
mainly, if not exclusively, for its own partic-
ular front. Matters did not improve in the
early months of 1918. In January Sir Henry
Wilson, our military representative at Ver-
sailles, reported his opinion that the im-
pending German offensive would be launched
against the British front between St. Quentin
and Cambrai. He failed to persuade his
French colleagues, and if he convinced his
own Government, it failed to act upon his
advice. Possibly it felt bound to abide by
the collective view, if any was expressed, by
the Versailles Council; in that case the col-
lective Council proved less sagacious than
the British representative, and on 16 Febru-
ary it was announced that Sir William Robert-
son had resigned.
    Meanwhile, American preparations were
being delayed by an exceptional winter and
by the inherent and enormous difficulty of
converting a vast community inured to peace
to the organized purposes of war. In spite of
invidious comparisons by super-patriots be-
tween British sloth and Transatlantic promp-
titude, America took four times as many
months as the British had taken weeks to
put a hundred thousand men into the firing-
line; and the Germans were transferring di-
visions very much faster from the Eastern
to the Western front. The Bolsheviks had
relieved them of all anxiety on that score.
Immediately after their coup d’etat on 7
November they had issued an invitation to
all belligerents to negotiate for peace. The
Germans naturally accepted, and on 29 Novem-
ber Count Hertling announced in the Re-
ichstag their readiness to treat. On 3 De-
cember Krilenko obtained the surrender at
Mohilev of the Russian General Staff, and
Dukhonin, his predecessor, was barbarously
murdered, though Kornilov escaped. On
the 5th an armistice was signed to last till
the 17th, and on the 15th a truce for an-
other month. Cossack rebellions under Kaledin
and Kornilov broke out on the Don and un-
der Dutoff in the Urals; and Scherbachev
collected a mixed anti-Bolshevik force on
the borders of the Ukraine. But peace ne-
gotiations began between the Germans and
Bolsheviks at Brest-Litovsk on the 22nd.
The plausible German Foreign Secretary, Von
K¨hlmann, presided, and Austria was rep-
resented by Count Czernin. On the 25th,
which was Christmas Day for the Germans
but not by the unreformed Russian calen-
dar, Von K¨hlmann announced Germany’s
adhesion to the Russian programme of no
annexations and no indemnities on condi-
tion that the Entente accepted the same
principle; and an adjournment was made
until 4 January to wait for its reply.
    Before it was received Germany declared
that Poland, Lithuania, Courland, and parts
of Esthonia and Livonia–i.e. the conquered
provinces of Russia–had already expressed
their ”self-determination” in favour of sep-
aration from Russia and protection by Ger-
many; and on 2 January Trotzky indignantly
denounced these ”hypocritical peace pro-
posals.” On the 10th, however, he consented
to reopen the discussions at Brest without
reference to the Entente, and to recognize
the independent status of the Ukraine. He
was not yet prepared to accept the German
terms, and after the forcible suppression of
the Constituent Assembly, which had been
elected in the autumn and endeavoured to
meet at Petrograd on 18 January, he ac-
cused the Germans of demanding ”a most
monstrous annexation.” He was still rely-
ing on the result of Bolshevik propaganda
in Germany, and the strikes which broke
out at the end of the month and the prohi-
bition of the Vorw¨rts showed that it was
not without effect. But their suppression
by the Government deprived him of his only
weapon, and on 10 February he announced
that, while the Bolsheviks refused to sign
an unjust peace, the state of war was ended
between Germany and Russia. This chaotic
suggestion did not commend itself to the
Germans, and they took prompt measures
to bring Trotzky to a less ambiguous frame
of mind. On the 18th they occupied Dvinsk
and Lutsk, and before the end of the month
they were in Hapsal, Dorpat, Reval, Pskov,
and Minsk, and within striking distance of
Petrograd (see Map, p. 274). On the 24th
the Bolsheviks intimated their willingness
to accept the new German terms, far more
severe than their original proposals, which
included the abandonment of the whole of
the Baltic Provinces, Poland, Lithuania, and
the Ukraine, and the surrender of Armenia
and the Caucasus to the Turks. Peace was
signed on these conditions on 2 March, and
confirmed by a majority of more than two
to one at a congress of Soviets at Moscow
on the 14th.
   Shameful as this surrender was, the Bol-
sheviks found some compensation in the do-
mestic triumphs of their party and their
creed. Cossack resistance succumbed to their
arms and propaganda. Alexeiev, who had
succeeded Kaledin in the command of the
Cossack forces, was defeated on 13 Febru-
ary; Kaledin committed suicide; and Bol-
shevik authority spread to the Black Sea,
the Caucasus, and all across Siberia. Ger-
many hastened to make a German peace
with Finland and the Ukraine, which at-
tempted to sow as many seeds of discord
as was possible; but the bourgeois parties
with whom they treated had but a slender
hold on the countries they professed to rep-
resent, and Finland and the Ukraine were
soon involved in civil wars in which their
Governments were only able to make head-
way against the Bolshevik Red Guards by
the help of German troops. The anarchy
suited the Germans except in so far as it
detained German forces from the West and
impeded those supplies they sought from
the Ukraine and farther afield; and by the
middle of March they were in Odessa and
pushing their outposts and their intrigues
towards the Caucasus, the Caspian, and Cen-
tral Asia. The most pitiable situation was
that of Rumania, threatened as she was by
the Bolsheviks on account of her monarchy
and social order, and by the Central Em-
pires on account of her alliance with the
Entente. Completely cut off from those al-
lies, she was compelled in March to sign
the humiliating Treaty of Bukarest, which
surrendered the Dobrudja, the Carpathian
passes, and her supplies of corn and oil to
the enemy, while leaving Mackensen in con-
trol of her capital and the greater part of
the kingdom.
    There have been few disasters in mod-
ern history comparable with the fall of Rus-
sia, and none which shows more vividly that
the strength of a State depends not upon
the vastness of its territory, the size of its
armies, or the skill of its diplomacy, but
upon the moral, the education, and con-
tentment of its people. Of all the causes
of German success in the war and of suffer-
ing to the world at large and little nations
in particular, none was more potent than
the blindness of Russian governments which
had refused in the past to set their house
in order, and by reform in time to prepare
their people for the storm. Russia herself
suffered most, but all her allies felt in differ-
ent degrees the effects of her collapse, and
in the spring of 1918 it was to put the gen-
eral cause of civilization to its severest test
upon the Western front. The perilous situ-
ation in which the Entente stood in March
was due to other reasons than the conduct
of the British War Cabinet, but there was
a grim irony in its somewhat novel publica-
tion of an official advertisement and report
of its preparations for victory on the eve of
the greatest defeat encountered by British
arms during the war.
    More than two years before the war con-
cluded a junior officer from the front re-
marked that he could not say when, but
knew where, it would end, and that was
not far from our existing lines in France
and Flanders. As time wore on and the
limitations of strategy under modern con-
ditions grew clearer, the war assumed more
and more the aspect of a single battle vary-
ing in its intensity from season to season
and place to place, but constant in its con-
tinuity and in its absorption of the principal
forces of the main belligerents. The unity
of control culminating in unity of command
which marked the closing stages of the war
was therefore not so much a brilliant impro-
visation on the part of any general or states-
man as the inevitable lesult of the history of
the war; and the misfortunes of the Entente
did more than its foresight to bring that
consummation to pass. In the main it was
due to the gradual weakening and then the
collapse of Russia, which first involved the
ruin of Serbia and Rumania and the wreck-
ing of our Balkan plans, and finally dis-
solved the Eastern front. There could have
been no unity of command had Russia re-
mained our predominant military partner;
and even in the West it never comprised the
Italian Army, which retained its indepen-
dence of action or inaction until the end of
the war. But in 1918 the Italian front sank
into a subordination almost as marked as
the Russian, and the war that counted grew
to a climax where it had started between
the Alps and the Belgian coast. There were
concentrated the French and British armies
which Germany must beat before she could
win peace; and there came in the American
hosts which turned the scale against her.
    With or without unity of command, the
two million American troops which ultimately
crossed the Atlantic would have given us
the victory; and the view that the war was
won by unity of command is as superficial
as the view that the battle of St. Quentin
was lost by the lack of it. That battle was
lost because the Versailles Council, acting
on the advice of its French rather than its
British members, misjudged the direction
of the coming German offensive and mis-
placed the reserves at its disposal. Unless,
which may be the case, Foch was at variance
with his French colleagues on this point, his
appointment as generalissimo at any earlier
stage would not have affected the results of
these mistakes. Unity of command might,
indeed, have led to an even more extensive
weakening of the threatened British front in
order to make absolutely secure that French
front which the French were convinced was
the German objective, and a demand was
made for a further British extension beyond
Barisis, but was successfully resisted at the
Versailles Council before the unity of com-
mand had been established. That does not
absolve the British Cabinet from its com-
plicity in the blunder. It was equally re-
sponsible to the British people for British
lives whether it was acting on its own ini-
tiative or on the mistaken advice of an ally;
and there were also sins of omission of its
own. Not only had it been advised by Sir
Henry Wilson that the German offensive
would come on the British front, but it had
been warned that if it came where it was an-
ticipated, that front, thin as it was, could
not be expected to hold unless reinforce-
ments, for which repeated requests were made,
were dispatched. Remonstrances fell on deaf
ears, although there were nearly 300,000
troops available in England. Mr. Lloyd
George afterwards called them first-class troops,
and congratulated himself and the country
on the fact that they were transported to
France within a fortnight after the damage
had been done. For this, the most culpable
Cabinet failure in the war, others besides
the Cabinet were to blame; and it must
be ascribed ultimately to the national sins
of intellectual sloth and ignorance. Those
hundreds of thousands of troops, shown to
be superfluous in England by their subse-
quent dispatch to France, were kept at home
because persons in authority believed they
were needed to do the work of the British
Navy and defend our shores against a Ger-
man invasion. Throughout the war loqua-
cious generals, who were not employed at
the front, harped at home on that alarm,
supremely ignorant of and indifferent to the
unbroken experience of the world and the
teaching of naval history, that military in-
vasion across an uncommanded sea is an
utter impossibility. But there was no one
to teach the War Cabinet this elementary
truth, and least of all could it be taught
by the eminent lawyer and the able railway
director whom Mr. Lloyd George succes-
sively appointed to the Admiralty to rep-
resent the ripest naval wisdom of mankind.
It remained for the nation to pay the cost.
    The great attack was launched at dawn
on Thursday, 21 March, precisely against
that sector of the British front indicated by
Sir Henry Wilson two months before; and
Gough’s Fifth Army, which held it lightly
with fourteen divisions against forty, was
doomed to defeat by the failure of both
the British and the French Governments to
provide adequate reserves which existed in
abundance both in England and in the rear
of the French line, and by the fact that Haig
was more anxious about his shallow front
in Flanders and P´tain about his in Cham-
pagne than either was about the Somme.
Generally speaking, the British front grew
thinner from north to south until between
the Somme and the Oise Gough had less
than a bayonet a yard; and Ludendorff knew
it. He also made skilful use of the advantage
which the possession of the interior lines
gave him in the St. Quentin-St. Gobain
salient. He could mass his troops in that an-
gle without revealing which side he meant
to attack, and thus neutralize that observa-
tion which superiority in aircraft gave his
antagonists. It was not so much that he
brought up his forces at night and concealed
them in woods, which are leafless in March,
as that the bodily eye of the airmen failed
to discern his intentions. He had other in-
cidental advantages: that laborious spade-
work which characterized the German Army
was not a distinguishing feature of either
the British or the French; and both the
trenches we took over south of St. Quentin
and our own to the north of it left a good
deal to be desired in their defensive strength,
while the great bridgehead under construc-
tion to protect the Somme south of P´ronne
had not been completed. The Allied ad-
vance had been slow, but since 1916 a confi-
dent conviction possessed the Allied armies
that they would only move in a forward di-
rection. Ludendorff was also able to with-
draw his six divisions and many Austrian
batteries from the Italian front, assured that
no Italian offensive need be feared; and his
tactics came as a surprise in spite of the
practical warnings given at Caporetto and
Cambrai. They were based not so much
upon superiority of numbers as upon su-
periority of the selected troops to the av-
erage of the forces opposed; and success
depended less upon the weight than upon
the sharpness of the weapon used for the
blow. Hindenburg liked a hammer; Luden-
dorff chose an axe with which to cleave the
enemy front. When it was cleft, inferior
metal might be used to widen the gap be-
tween the French and British armies and
drive the latter to the coast while the for-
mer was being crushed.
    The German offensive was facilitated by
the abnormally dry season, which reduced
the strength of the water-defences of the
British right, and a dense fog favoured the
attack on our forward positions. The Ger-
mans got their infantry across the Oise canal
north of La F`re without being noticed, and
many of our outposts were surrounded be-
fore it was known that the attack had be-
gun, although a brief bombardment by gas
and other shells had drenched our line and
areas miles behind it all along the front
(see Map, p. 338). The forward zone re-
sisted heroically, but by noon the Germans
were through it west of La F`re and were
in our battle-zone north of St. Quentin
at Ronssoy. Between these two extremes
of Gough’s front they reached in the after-
noon Maissemy, north of St. Quentin, and
the line Essigny-Benay south of it. Farther
north less progress had been made against
Byng’s Third Army, but the Germans had
reached St. Leger in their effort to thrust
a wedge between Arras and Cambrai, and
many villages had been captured. The prospect
was gloomy for the morrow, since, although
the Germans had already used sixty-four
divisions they were prepared to throw in
fresh ones each succeeding day, and it would
be several days before reinforcements could
reach the Somme either from our reserves
in Flanders or the French reserves in Cham-
    The Germans made comparatively lit-
tle headway on the 22nd against the Third
Army; but Gough’s last reserves were thrown
in without stopping the German advance
on our right, and the meagre French divi-
sion which Fayolle was able to send across
the Oise could not dam the torrent. At
night the enemy had penetrated our third
defensive position, and Gough ordered a re-
treat to the unfinished bridgehead on the
Somme. Byng’s right had to conform to
this movement, which did not stop east of
the Somme; for on the 23rd the Germans
had crossed the river south-east of Ham,
more than a dozen miles from their starting-
point, and the P´ronne bridgehead had to
be abandoned. Even on the west bank Gough’s
right was thus endangered, and his left was
threatened by a German attempt to break a
gap north of P´ronne between his army and
Byng’s Third. This effort on the Somme,
where it runs due west from P´ronne to
Amiens, now became the chief and most
promising objective of the German strategy.
The link between our two armies was ex-
tremely fragile, and misunderstandings arose
between the two staffs. Fortunately the worst
disaster was averted by Byng’s timely with-
drawal from Monchy, which disconcerted and
postponed the German attack on Arras.
    On Sunday the 24th the task of the British
was threefold –to stem with French assis-
tance the German advance on our right be-
tween the Somme and the Oise, to hold the
line of the river from Ham northwards to
P´ronne, and to repel the German thrust
between the Third and Fifth Armies north
of the river bend. They were partially suc-
cessful in the first two tasks, but north of
the Somme the Germans got into Combles
and the Third Army had to make a big
retreat, surrendering Bapaume and nearly
all the painful gains of the 1916 Somme
campaign. The Germans renewed the at-
tack with great energy on the 25th, and
the British were unable to hold them up on
their improvised lines. Before night they
were ordered to take their stand on the old
Ancre defences. This movement exposed
the left flank of Gough’s forces on the Somme;
his front had also been driven in by German
attacks across the river, while his right had
been forced back beyond Guiscard, Noyon,
and Nesle. Fissures began to appear on the
broken front; there was something very like
a gap between the French and British near
Roye, and another between Byng’s Fourth
and Fifth Corps across the Ancre, besides
that between his and Gough’s armies. Byng
was the first to re-establish his line, partly
because reinforcements from the north reached
him first. Early on the 26th the Germans
had broken through our old line between
Beaumont-Hamel and H´buterne and taken
Colincamps, where they had not been since
1914; but in the afternoon they were driven
out again, and the recovery was permanent.
Here at least the German advance had reached
its limit, and there was some significance
in the fact that here on that afternoon the
British whippet Tanks first appeared in bat-
     Gough was not so happy. He had be-
gun to collect a miscellaneous force, like
that which stopped the final German thrust
at Ypres on 31 October 1914, consisting of
all sorts of combatant and non-combatant
details, to check the German rush on the
Somme; but threats on his left, right, and
front compelled him to retreat to a line run-
ning south from Bray and behind that held
by the French before the battle of the Somme.
Still the Germans advanced towards Mont-
didier, seeking to break through between
Gough’s right and the French, who had been
driven off south-west of Roye. But the worst
of the danger was north on the Somme,
where Byng’s orders were misunderstood and
his extreme right, instead of holding the
line Albert-Bray to protect Gough’s left, fell
back five miles to Sailly-le-Sec. The result
was that on the 27th the Germans were able
to cross the Somme behind Gough’s left at
Chipilly and compel his retreat to a line
running from Bouzencourt S.E. to Rosi`res.
There Gough’s centre stoutly maintained it-
self during the day; but to the south the
Germans drove the French out of Lassigny
and Montdidier and seemed in a fair way to
break the liaison between the Allies, while
north of the Somme the Germans had got
into Albert and Aveluy wood.
    Nevertheless the clouds were beginning
to lighten. The violence of the German at-
tack was exhausting to the attackers; their
communications now lay across the devas-
tated area, and rain soon came to clog their
movements. Their front of attack was, more-
over, being steadily narrowed from fifty to
twenty miles. The French had forced the
Germans to leave the Oise after Noyon, and
while their advance continued it did so with
a lengthening flank no longer protected by
the river. Unless Von Hutier to the south or
Von Buelow to the north could break these
containing and solidifying barriers, the front
of the German attack would be reduced to a
hopeless point before it got to Amiens. The
attempt was naturally made against Arras
by Von Buelow’s comparatively unwearied
army, and on the 28th he resumed his frus-
trated attack of the 23rd. This time the
Germans had no fog to help them, and their
troops assembling for the attack were dec-
imated by our artillery. Nowhere did they
succeed in piercing the battle zone, and a
second attack in the afternoon fared no bet-
ter. This was the decisive failure of the Ger-
man offensive, and north of the Somme our
front was now secure. South of it the Ger-
mans made some further progress on that
day. The Rosi`res salient had to be aban-
doned to the Germans pushing south of it
across the Somme, and a retreat made to
the angle of the Luce and Avre rivers. Fay-
olle also was driven back to the Avre, but by
counter-attacks north and south of Montdi-
dier he prevented the enemy from debouch-
ing from that city.
    The situation continued grave and the
fighting severe for the next few days, but
retreat and pursuit had merged into a bat-
tle on a line with take as well as give. The
French front was extended up to the Luce
and an extemporized Fourth Army replaced
the weary remnants of the Fifth. More im-
portant was the appointment of Foch as
commander-in-chief on the 25th after a con-
ference at Doullens between Haig and P´tain,
Lord Milner and Cl´menceau, though it can-
not have had much effect upon the opera-
tions which checked the German advance by
the end of March. On 4 April Von Hutier
made a final attempt to reach Amiens, and
drove the Allies out of the angle of the Luce
and Avre and from the west bank of the
latter back to a line running west of Cas-
tel, Mailly-Raineval, Sauvillers, Cantigny,
and Mesnil St. Georges. But farther the
Germans could not advance either north or
south of the Somme, though away to the
east the French had to evacuate the sharp
salient between the Oise from La F`re to
Chauny and the St. Gobain forest, and
to fall back behind the Aillette. The first
act in the great German offensive had failed
in its strategical object of breaking the Al-
lied line, but it had achieved incomparably
more than any Allied offensive in the war;
and the only advances to compare with it
were the German invasion of France and
Belgium in 1914 and of Russia in 1915. The
Germans claimed by 4 April 90,000 pris-
oners and 1300 guns, and the Fifth Army
had been practically destroyed. It was the
most formidable offensive in the history of
the world, and four times as many divisions
were launched against the British in March
1918 as against the French at Verdun in
   But it did not exhaust the German ef-
fort. There were other acts to follow, and
the second opened on 9 April, immediately
after the curtain had been rung down on the
first. No second offensive could, however,
approach in magnitude the original plan.
The Germans excelled in forethought and
in methodical preparation for which ample
time was needed. They had had it in the
winter, and had staked their hopes upon the
success of their throw in March. Now they
had to improvise, and their second thoughts
were second best. There were, indeed, signs
of indecision in Ludendorff’s later moves.
Possibly he regarded the Flanders offensive
in April and the attack on the Chemin des
Dames in May as diversions merely intended
to draw reserves away from the Amiens front
and facilitate a resumption of his original
design with better chance of success. Cer-
tainly those offensives were begun with lim-
ited forces, and probably succeeded beyond
his expectations. But the attack on the
Amiens front was never seriously resumed
in spite of the success of Ludendorff’s diver-
sions; and the remainder of the campaign,
so far as German initiative was concerned,
resolved itself after April into an effort to re-
peat with more success against the French
Army offensives which had failed to dispose
of the British. There can hardly have been
much hope in Ludendorff’s mind of decisive
victory in a strategy which after April left
the British front almost immune from at-
tack, while American reinforcements were
pouring in at the rate of hundreds of thou-
sands a month. But the responsibility of
continuing the war under such conditions
and deluding the German people with false
confidence was so serious that no admission
is likely to be forthcoming yet awhile of the
real intentions and thoughts of the German
General Staff during the summer of 1918.
The truth no doubt is that Ludendorff had
only a choice between a confession of fail-
ure which was bound to ruin the Govern-
ment and the class he represented, and a
desperate effort to make what he could out
of the military situation; and he preferred
gambling, so long as he had anything with
which to play, to an immediate confession
of bankruptcy.
    For a time he had the luck which lures
the gambler on, and the scene of his second
act was skilfully chosen. Before 21 March
Haig had kept his line better manned north
than south of Arras, and the reasons which
made him anxious for the defence of his
northern sector counselled Ludendorff to at-
tack it when the defeat of the Fifth Army
had compelled the British commander to
divert ten divisions from the north and sup-
ply their place with the weary survivors of
the battle of St. Quentin. He had little
room to spare between his front and the
sea, and a break-through, far less extensive
than that which had been effected in March,
would give the Germans the coast of the
Straits of Dover, enable them to bombard
the Kentish shore, hamper the port of Lon-
don, and perhaps reach it with long-range
guns like those with which they had occa-
sionally bombarded Paris since 23 March.
These annoyances would have been serious;
but the British public paid itself a very bad
compliment when it seemed to assume that
the distant bombardment of London would
have an effect upon the war disproportion-
ate to that of Paris; and the notion that
an impetus which carried the Germans to
Calais would transport them across the Chan-
nel was merely another illustration of the
comprehensive popular ignorance of the mean-
ing of sea-power. Nieuport or Dunkirk might
have taken the place of Bruges as a sub-
marine base without greatly enhancing the
success of that campaign; and Haig chose
rightly when, having to weaken his north-
ern front, he risked a sector north instead
of south of La Bass´e and the Vimy Ridge.
Defeat to the north of those points, even
though it cost us the coast as far as Calais,
would not entail retreat from the Artois
hills between Arras and Gris Nez or threaten
our liaison with the French which had been
Ludendorff’s first objective. The material
comments on the value of his second thoughts
were that the Germans might have had the
Channel ports for the asking in 1914 but did
not think them worth it, and that in April
1918 Ludendorff employed but nine divi-
sions in his initial effort to break through.
Probably his real ambition was merely to
shorten his line and, in view of the possi-
ble resumption of his offensive in front of
Amiens, to provide against a British counter-
attack on the sensitive German position along
the Belgian coast.
    Anticipating some such attack, Haig had
deemed it wise to relieve the two Portuguese
divisions which held part of the front be-
tween the Lys and La Bass´e of their ardu-
ous responsibility; but he could only replace
them by weary British divisions, and the
change had only been half effected when,
on 9 April, Ludendorff s attack began af-
ter the usual bombardment with gas and
high-explosive on the 8th. The Portuguese
broke fairly soon, the British flanks on ei-
ther side were turned, and the whole cen-
tre had gone in a few hours. By night the
Germans had captured Fleurbaix, Laven-
tie, Neuve Chapelle, Richebourg, and La-
couture, and were on the Lys from Bac St.
Maur almost as far as Lestrem. But the
key-position at Givenchy was splendidly held
by the 55th Division, which set a perma-
nent limit to the German success and pre-
vented it from obtaining anything like the
dimensions of the March offensive. It con-
tinued, however, to develop on the north.
On the 10th Bois Grenier fell, Armenti`res
was evacuated, and the Germans poured
across the Lys, taking Estaires, Steenwerck,
and Ploegstreet and threatening the Messines
ridge. That, too, followed on the 11th, while
farther south the Germans secured Neuf Berquin
and Lestrem. On the 12th they got into
Merris and Merville and advanced to the
La Bass´e canal, threatening to cross it and
outflank B´thune on the north-west. Here,
however, they were held up in front of Robecq,
between the canal and the forest of Nieppe,
and turned to exploit their advantage far-
ther north. Their advance here was slower,
but by the 16th they had mastered Wytschaete,
Wulverghem, Neuve Eglise, Bailleul, and
Meteren, and were facing the line of hills
running from Mt. Kemmel to the Mt. des
   British and French reinforcements were
now arriving in considerable numbers, and
Ludendorff would have been prudent to rest
on his laurels. He had made a pronounced
bulge in our line, had diverted forces from
other sectors of the defence, and compelled
us to evacuate our dearly- purchased gains
of the Flanders campaign in the preceding
autumn. On the other hand, he had length-
ened instead of shortening his own line, he
had achieved no strategical object, and his
troops were left in a salient which invited
attack. Unless he could win the heights
from Mt. Kemmel to Mt. des Cats, which
commanded the country to the coast, he
would be in a worse situation for defence
than he was before. He was thus driven
to prolong the effort, pour fresh divisions
into the battle, and convert a diversion into
a major operation. Doubtless popular vi-
sions of the Channel ports and the bom-
bardment of London reinforced the sounder
military reasons for persistence. There were
three obvious lines of attack–on the Belgian
front north of Ypres, on the Kemmel range,
now held partly by French troops, and on
B´thune. The first was defeated on the
17th by a brilliant Belgian resistance, and
the third was repulsed on the 18th before
Hinges and at Givenchy; but the second was
longer delayed and more stubbornly pushed.
    The effort began with an intense bom-
bardment on the 25th, and a few hours later
the Germans had captured the village and
hill of Kemmel; our forces were driven back
to a line running in front of Dickebusch lake,
La Clytte, the Scherpenberg, and Locre.
Mt. Kemmel had been regarded as the key
to the position, and it looked as though the
range would fall. But Kemmel was an iso-
lated height, and the Germans were beaten
in the valleys which separated it from the
Scherpenberg. Their attacks reached a cli-
max on the 29th, and after some partial suc-
cess were everywhere defeated. Local fight-
ing continued spasmodically till late in May,
but it was clear that Ludendorff’s second
offensive had come to an end like his first.
Its extension had also ruined the chance
of successfully resuming the attack in front
of Amiens. On 23 April the Germans at-
tacked just south of the Somme and cap-
tured Villers-Bretonneux, but it was promptly
retaken on the following day; and in the
struggle along that line in May we advanced
as well as improved our position. The Ger-
mans had fought their last offensive against
the British front and had failed; and when
after a four weeks’ pause they resumed their
attacks, they were directed against the French.
    During the interval the British public
had time to reflect upon the disaster and its
effects. They were brought home by a new
military service Bill extending the liability
to all men under fifty-one and bringing Ire-
land within its scope. Panic had as much
to do with these proposals as forethought.
The raising of the military age was calcu-
lated to weaken our industrial more than
to strengthen our military power; and the
extension to Ireland handed that country
over to Sinn Fein and necessitated the di-
version thither of large British forces, which
might otherwise have been sent to the front,
without producing a single Irish conscript.
The proposal was, indeed, so foolish that its
authors made no attempt to carry it out.
Wiser was the speedy dispatch to France of
300,000 superfluous troops who had been
kept in England by nothing better than an
ignorant fear of invasion. But it was the
amazing rapidity with which the United States
responded to Mr. Lloyd George’s anxious
appeals that saved the Government from
the effects of its own blunders and reduced
its military service Act to a measure for the
infliction of gratuitous hardship. In April
nearly 120,000 American troops landed in
Europe, over 220,000 in May, and 275,000
in June. On 2 July President Wilson an-
nounced that over a million had sailed; that
number was doubled before the summer ended,
and in July General Smuts was anticipating
the possible presence in France of an Amer-
ican army as large as the British and French
    The need for so colossal a force did not
arise, but in April the position of his Gov-
ernment as well as the military situation ag-
itated the Prime Minister and gave wildness
to his words as well as to his actions. Apart
from the casualties, we had lost 1000 guns,
4000 machine guns, 200,000 rifles, 70,000
tons of ammunition, and 250 million rounds
of small ammunition, and 200 tanks. Cir-
cumstances wore a different complexion from
the roseate hues of the early months of 1917,
and Mr. Lloyd George could not escape
the kind of blame he had heaped upon his
predecessors. He sought to evade it in his
speech at the reassembling of Parliament
on the 9th by shifting the responsibility for
the disaster partly on to M. Cl´menceau as
the principal author of the unfortunate ex-
tension of the British line, and partly on
to the commander of the Fifth Army. The
latter at least could not reply, and the un-
fairness of the attack provoked much ill-
feeling in the army and elsewhere; it found
expression in a letter from Major-General
Maurice, lately Director of Military Oper-
ations, which was published on 7 May and
challenged the accuracy of ministerial state-
ments. His charges were so serious that the
Government at once proposed a judicial in-
quiry. Mr. Asquith committed the tacti-
cal error of moving instead for a parliamen-
tary committee. The Government naturally
treated his motion as a vote of censure, and
escaped all investigation on the ostensible
plea that it preferred a different method
from that proposed by Mr. Asquith. The
House of Commons by 293 to 106 votes ex-
pressed its apparent satisfaction with that
”ex parte statement from the Prime Minis-
ter himself” which ”The Times”–then his
strongest supporter in the Press–had the
day before said could not dispose of a charge
which ”unless and until it is impartially in-
vestigated and disproved, will profoundly
shake the public confidence in every state-
ment made from the Treasury Bench.” It
was not, however, with the honour of min-
isters that the House was mainly concerned.
Members were in that mood, which occurs
at times in every nation’s history, in which
questions of morals seem irrelevant or unim-
portant; and what they wanted was not the
truth but a plausible excuse for shirking in-
quiry and refusing to add a political to the
military crisis. Conscious of their own re-
sponsibility for the Government, they were
impatient of any discussion which might re-
veal unpleasant facts to their constituents
or military information to the enemy.
   It is difficult also not to trace a political
motive, if not in the attacks on Zeebrugge
and Ostend, at least in the contrast between
the enormous publicity they received and
the silence which shrouded the more nor-
mal but not less important or heroic work
of the British Navy. The plans, indeed, had
been prepared and sanctioned by Jellicoe
before he left office some months earlier; but
many plans have long to wait the ministe-
rial word, and the naval operations of 23
April were as timely for political as for mil-
itary reasons. The military objective was
to block the submarine and destroyer exits
from Zeebrugge and Ostend, both of which
were connected by canals with Bruges; and
an operation of that kind against the elabo-
rately fortified Belgian coast required favourable
weather conditions as well us the highest
courage. The plan at Ostend was simply
to sink ships in the waterway; at Zeebrugge
there were also to be diversions in the form
of a landing on the protecting mole and the
blowing up of the viaduct which connected
it with the shore. Success was only possible
if mist and smoke-clouds added to the con-
cealment of night, and those conditions de-
pended upon the wind. They seemed favourable
on the night of 22-23 April, but a quarter
of an hour before the Vindictive reached
the mole, a south-west breeze dispersed the
smoke- clouds and precipitated a torrent
of shell-fire from the German batteries. In
spite of it the landing party got on to the
mole and systematically destroyed its works,
while a submarine loaded with explosives
was run under the viaduct and exploded.
Meanwhile, the blocking ships were sunk at
the mouth of the canal, and the survivors
of their crews were picked up and got away
in the Vindictive and her consorts. At Os-
tend the blocking ships had to sink out-
side the centre of the waterway; but the
effort was repeated with better success by
the Vindictive on the night of 9-10 May.
Even Count Reventlow described these af-
fairs as ”damned plucky,” but added that
they were nothing more. The further at-
tacks on the Belgian coast which were com-
monly expected did not come, and the op-
erations had no appreciable effect upon the
land campaign. But they hampered the
German submarine campaign to some ex-
tent; and if they demonstrated once more
that sea-power is limited to the sea, they
also showed that on the sea German power
had become a negligible quantity. That fact
was, indeed, being proved in a more effec-
tive though less heroic fashion, by the safe
transport of hundreds of thousands of Amer-
ican troops across the Atlantic; but possibly
public opinion needed the more spectacular
demonstration, and it certainly showed that
the spirit of British seamen was unaffected
by the tremors of politicians.
    Politicians appeared, indeed, to be more
nervous after the crisis had passed than they
were before it arose, although their alarms
did not greatly affect the incurable sang-
froid of the British public; and the way in
which the middle-aged shouldered the un-
necessary burdens imposed upon them by
the improvidence of their Government, was
as exemplary as the eagerness with which
youth had volunteered early in the war. Their
acceptance of the new obligations had its
value in stimulating America to dispatch
her hundreds of thousands of troops more
fit for active service; and few, if any, of the
elderly English recruits saw any fighting.
Ludendorff’s plans had already gone astray
when he failed in March and April to break
the liaison between the French and British
armies; and his subsequent operations were
ineffective attempts to prepare the ground
for a final offensive which he was never al-
lowed to begin. It would have been doomed
to miscarry in any case, for his preliminar-
ies exhausted the forces intended for the fi-
nal effort, and the battles in Flanders had
enhanced the failure of his original design.
He took four weeks to prepare for a second
subsidiary operation, and hoped to achieve
a better success against the French than he
had against the British. He had the advan-
tage of taking them unawares, and on the
eve of his offensive a French journal pro-
claimed that it would be another blow at
the British front because the Germans knew
that the French line was impregnable. Pop-
ular opinion in France had attributed Ger-
man success at St. Quentin and in Flan-
ders to British incompetence or cowardice,
and British troops had even been hissed
in the streets of Paris. The attack on the
Chemin des Dames was to modify this opin-
ion, although some tactless Frenchmen an-
nounced that reserves sent up to the British
sector, which alone stood its ground, were
going ”au secours des Anglais.”
    Ludendorff’s object was to widen his front
towards Paris, for the lure of the capital had
already diverted him from his original plan
of breaking the liaison between the French
and British armies in front of Amiens. That
Paris was his objective in May, and not the
diversion of troops from the critical junc-
tion with a view to resuming that attack,
seems clear from the fact that his next blow
in June was struck between Montdidier and
Noyon. The Chemin des Dames would have
been impregnable if properly held, but Lu-
dendorff s information was not at fault, and
the possession of the interior lines gave him
the same advantage as in March of strik-
ing either right against the British or left
against the French. He struck early on 27
May and achieved the most rapid advance
of the war on the Western front. The line
from Soissons to Reims was held by only
eight divisions, four French and four British–
one of these in reserve–and in a few hours
the French had lost all their gains since Oc-
tober 1914 and were back again behind the
Aisne. The British divisions, although they
had been sent there to recruit after their
hard work in March and April, made a bet-
ter fight, and maintained themselves in their
second positions all the day. But the French
retreat had uncovered the British left flank,
and in the evening they had to withdraw to
the Aisne. By that time the French were
nearer the Vesle than the Aisne, and on the
28th they were driven well south of the lat-
ter river. On the 29th the Germans broad-
ened their front by taking Soissons, and on
the 30th the apex of the salient they had
made had reached the Marne between Chˆteau-
Thierry and Dormans. For three days they
had advanced at the rate of ten miles a
day, capturing some 40,000 prisoners and
400 guns. From that date the pace slack-
ened. The Germans did not attempt to
cross the Marne, but endeavoured to widen
their salient by pushing east behind Reims
and west across the Soissons-Chˆteau- Thierry
road. They had little success in the for-
mer direction, but in the latter they grad-
ually pressed back the French to an irreg-
ular line which ran from Fontenoy on the
Aisne southwards along the Savi`res river
across the Ourcq, and then turned east-
wards down the Clignon and reached the
Marne below Chˆteau-Thierry. American
troops, who had on the 27th marked their
advent into battle by capturing and hold-
ing Cantigny, a critical point on the Mont-
didier front, now took up an equally crucial
position south-west of Chˆteau-Therry and
drove the Germans back on 4-5 June, while
on the 6th British troops recaptured Bligny
south-west of Reims.
   The French themselves defeated on the
5th a German attempt to cross the Oise
at Lagache south of Noyon, which was in-
tended to link up the German offensive on
the Aisne with their next attack farther west.
This was launched on the 9th between Mont-
didier and Noyon, and its purpose was to
push southwards and envelop the French
defences and forces in the forests of Compi`gne
and Villers-Cotterets which had stopped the
German westward advance on Paris between
the Aisne and the Marne. It was a dan-
gerous threat, but this time Foch was pre-
pared. The attack was, indeed, a matter of
common anticipation, and its adoption sug-
gested that Ludendorff was getting to the
end of his expedients. The Americans at
Cantigny set a western, and the French suc-
cess at Lagache an eastern limit to its front;
and thus confined it advanced no more than
six miles in four days. The French left stood
firm and a brilliant counter- attack by Man-
gin on the German right flank between Rubescourt
and St. Maur on the 11th determined its
failure, although Foch was compelled to evac-
uate the salient which the German advance
had created in the French line east of the
Oise between Ribecourt and Mt. de Choisy.
Hoping that this attack had diverted French
forces from the defence of the forest of Villers-
Cotterets, the Germans then renewed their
push along the Aisne, but were promptly
checked; and no better success attended their
effort on the 18th to encircle Reims still far-
ther east.
    For the moment German trust in success
had to repose upon the secondary efforts of
her Austrian ally on the Piave, although no
German troops could now be spared to give
much substance to the expectation. That
front had been quiescent since the winter,
but a good deal had been done to strengthen
it, and the Italians were doubtless well ad-
vised to stand behind their lines rather than
risk an offensive until Austria was practi-
cally hors de combat. Austria herself had
little stomach for the fight. Her domes-
tic situation was deplorable; parliamentary
government had been suspended; and nearly
half the population of the Empire was in
veiled or open revolt. Hundreds of thou-
sands of Czecho- Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs
had joined the enemy, and some were stiff-
ening the Piave front. But German de-
mands were inexorable, and it was hoped
that German tactics would supply the place
of German troops. There were two battles
in the offensive which began on 15 June, one
in the mountains, the object of which was
to turn the whole Italian front on the Piave,
and the other a frontal attack across that
river between the Montello, the pivot of the
mountain and river fronts, and the sea. The
first was the more promising, but achieved
the less success. That front was partly held
by French and British troops, and the in-
significant advance which the Austrians made
on the 15th was stopped on the following
day. The attack on the Piave was at first
more fortunate; a good deal of the Montello
was taken, a serious impression was made
on the Italian right wing at San Don` dia
Piave, and fourteen new bridges and nearly
100,000 Austrian troops were thrown across
the river. Fortune came to the rescue of the
Italians, and torrents of rain flooded the Pi-
ave and broke ten of the Austrian bridges.
On the 18th the counter-attack began, and
by a brilliant dash of soldiers and sailors
the Austrian left was turned on the 21st.
On the 22nd a general retreat across the
river was ordered; it was skilfully carried
out, and the Austrians escaped with sin-
gularly slight losses considering their pre-
carious position. Their offensive had been
an utter failure, but Diaz did not think it
prudent to follow up his success with an ad-
vance across the river.
    The Austrian misadventure was a mea-
gre morsel with which to fill the gap be-
tween the latest German offensives and the
crowning mercy for which the German pub-
lic had been led to look; and as the precious
summer weeks flew by uneasiness must have
filled any German minds that were capa-
ble of discerning the realities of the situa-
tion. But the wish is father to most men’s
thoughts, and unpleasant facts which were
not concealed by the censor were sedulously
ignored or explained away. ”Foch’s reserves”
became a jesting synonym on German lips
for something which did not exist, and it
was the daily exercise of journalistic wis-
dom to show that American armies which
could not swim or fly would be prevented
by German submarines from crossing the
Atlantic. Ludendorff was not so blind, and
had he been a patriotic statesman instead
of a Junker general he would have sought to
make terms while he might do so with ad-
vantage. But it is the nemesis of militarism
that it never can make a peace which is tol-
erable to its enemies, and Ludendorff had
no choice but to persist with an offensive
which had become a desperate gamble. His
efforts since the end of May had profited
him little; he had used up most of the di-
visions intended for a final resumption of
his attack on the Franco- British liaison;
and after more than a month’s delay he
could only launch his last bolt against an
eccentric and subsidiary objective. Foiled
in front of Amiens and Paris, he turned to
Reims; but there was nothing in the pre-
vious history of the war on the Western
front to suggest that, even were his last of-
fensive as successful as his first, it would
bring him within measurable distance of the
victory he needed. The Marne might be
crossed and the railway to Nancy and Ver-
dun cut, as they had been in 1914, but the
further advance for which he could hope
from his attack on Reims would bring him
no nearer to Paris, to breaking the Entente
connexion, or to damming that fatal flow
of American reinforcements which was pro-
viding Foch with as many reserves a month
as Germany could recruit in a year.
    The fateful attack began at 4 a.m. on
15 July after four hours of artillery prepa-
ration. Its object was to encircle the Mon-
tagne de Reims, the chief bastion of the line
of communications between Paris and the
eastern front on the Meuse, and to extend
the German hold on the Marne from Dor-
mans as far as Chˆlons. There were two
converging attacks, one on the twenty-six
miles of front which Gouraud held east of
Reims between Prunay and Massiges, and
the other on a twenty-two mile line south-
west of Reims between Vrigny and Fossoy
on the Marne above Chˆteau-Thierry. For
each attack Ludendorff used fifteen divisions,
with others in reserve. On both fronts he
found Foch prepared to counter the tactics
which had been so successful in the earlier
stages of the offensive. The first line was
lightly held, and the Germans were shaken
by a skilfully arranged bombardment as they
crossed the zone between it and the real
French defences. Upon these in Champagne
they made no impression whatever. Prunay,
Prosnes, Auberive, and Tahure were yielded
at first, but recovered by counter-attacks;
the French lost no guns, and their casualties
were insignificant. Gouraud more than any-
one else had frustrated Ludendorff’s last of-
fensive. South-west of Reims the Germans
were rather more successful. They pushed
across the Marne to a depth of some three
miles between Mezy and Dormans, and in
three days advanced up it past Chˆtillon
towards Epernay as far as Rueil. Similar
progress was made eastwards on the line be-
tween the Marne and Vrigny. But the gate-
posts were firmly held at Fossoy with Amer-
ican assistance, and at Vrigny with that of
the British and Italian divisions which un-
der Berthelot did some of their best fighting
in the war. By the evening of the 17th the
Entente forces were successfully counter-attacking
all along the line, and at dawn on the 18th
Foch delivered the blow which converted
the German advance into a retreat, and be-
gan a triumphal progress which did not stop
until four months later the enemy sued for
    There were a few people in England who
had some inkling on 18 July that it might
prove a turning- point in history. Foch’s
simple piety had led him into what was al-
most an indiscretion; he had asked for the
special prayers of the faithful, the request
had spread to conventual schools in Eng-
land, and by the 16th it was guessed by
those who knew the fact that a special ef-
fort was in contemplation. But his great
counter-attack owed its importance to what
had gone before and what was to follow;
and victory was due to more complex and
comprehensive causes than the valour of the
troops engaged upon the Marne or even the
strategy of Foch. Greater efforts were made
at other times on both sides than during the
last fortnight of July 1918, and the destruc-
tion of the salient the Germans had made
since 27 May was merely the last ounce
which turned the balance of power and the
scales of victory. There were many ounces
in the total weight, and the pride of each
belligerent points to the different contribu-
tions which it made. To the Americans
their divisions at Chˆteau-Thierry seem the
decisive factor, to the French it was Foch’s
genius. The British point to the fact that
the greatest weight of German force was
still in front of Amiens and not on the Marne,
and an Italian prince has declared that it
was Italy who won the war on 24 Octo-
ber; while Ludendorff has maintained that
American troops counted for little, and that
the crucial factor was the revolutionary pro-
paganda which had begun to undermine the
moral of German troops as early as 1916.
None of these partial explanations contain
more than an element of truth, and a more
comprehensive view is suggested by the like-
ness of Germany to the ”one-hoss shay” of
Oliver Wendell Holmes’ ballad, a vehicle
so skilfully compacted of durable materi-
als that each part lasted exactly as long
as every other, and that the whole eventu-
ally crumbled into a heap of dust in a sin-
gle moment. German resources were vastly
inferior to those which were slowly mobi-
lized against her, but she organized them
with such skill that they resisted the wear
and tear of the war for a period to which
some observers could discern no end. The
strength of materials is, however, limited,
and no organization can make them last for
ever. The German armies began to give
on 18 July, and the decay went on increas-
ing because she had not the means with
which to make repairs. The wonder is not
that the machine broke down, but that it
bore so great a strain for so prolonged a
time. The Germans could not command
success because they defied the conscience
of mankind, but from the military point of
view they certainly deserved it.
    In spite of Ludendorff’s attempt, nat-
ural in a Junker, to debit revolution with
his failure, it was American reinforcements
which turned the scale. Few of them were
as yet in the battle line, and there was no
great disparity between the opposing forces
on the front. But the mobilized strength of
the Allies was growing to three times that
of their enemies. Foch had an inexhaustible
reservoir which enabled him to take risks
which Ludendorff could not afford, and gave
him a freedom of action which no Entente
general had yet possessed. The extent of
his command and his resources released him
from the bonds of limited offensives. He
could crush the German salient on the Marne
without prejudicing the prospects of his plans
at Amiens and Arras, in Champagne or at
Verdun; and fear imposed on Ludendorff
the dire alternative of weakening his powers
of resistance to future attacks elsewhere, or
starving his immediate defence. His plans
for resuming the offensive at Amiens had
already been ruined by the drain of his at-
tacks on the Aisne and on the Marne; and
his defensive prospects on the Amiens front
were now to be jeopardized in the effort to
avoid disaster in the salient he had rashly
made along the Marne. For, except on the
assumption that Foch was unable to attack
on the western flank of that salient between
Soissons and Chˆteau-Thierry, the German
thrust deeper across the Marne was a wild
adventure (see Map, p. 362).
    Foch, however, had made his plan and
his preparations. Concealed by the forests
of Compi`gne and Villers-Cotterets, he had
assembled in the angle between the Oise
and Marne reserves of which the Germans
denied the existence. From the Aisne near
Fontenoy southwards to the Ourcq Mangin
commanded an army containing the pick
of French colonial troops; and thence to
the Marne Degoutte had another which in-
cluded five American divisions. Before them
ran the German flank weakly guarding the
line of communications with the German
front on the Marne. Led by a vast fleet
of French ”mosquito” Tanks something like
the British ”whippets,” the French early on
the 18th broke through the German defences
on a front of twenty-seven miles and ad-
vanced from two to five miles towards the
Soissons-Chˆteau- Thierry road. [Footnote:
An error made in the British r´chauff´e ofe
the French official news represented Mangin
as having advanced eight miles on the 18th
to the Crise on a stretch of five miles east of
Buzancy. It was a mistake of nord-¨uest for
nord-est which was never corrected, and has
got into most of the summaries and histo-
ries of the war, although it makes the subse-
quent French fighting in that area unintel-
ligible. The history of the German evacua-
tion of the salient would have been very dif-
ferent had the French got east of Buzancy
on the 18th. As a matter of fact, it took
them eleven days to secure the territory cred-
ited to them by this error on the 18th.]
Mangin reached the Montagne de Paris within
two miles of Soissons, and Berzy-le-Sec on
the banks of the Crise, while south of the
Ourcq D´goutte got to Neuilly St. Front
and the Americans captured Courchamps,
Torcy, and Belleau. Sixteen thousand pris-
oners and fifty guns were captured, but there
was nothing like a German rout. They stub-
bornly defended their main line of commu-
nications for days until the bulk of their
forces could get away; and they evacuated
the salient slowly and in good order. There
was, of course, no further hope for them
south of the Marne, and by the 20th they
had regained the northern bank without very
serious loss; it was not till the 22nd that the
Allies crossed the river in pursuit. On the
21st the Germans had abandoned Chˆteau-  a
Thierry and the Soissons road as far as the
Ourcq, but north of that river they held the
road for a week, and Buzancy was not cap-
tured till the 29th. By the 23rd Berthelot
was making progress on the other side of
the salient, and the German centre had to
relinquish the forest of F`re and Oulchy on
the 25th. On the 31st the Americans drove
in their centre at Seringes, and on 2 August
the French forced their way into Soissons.
By the 3rd the Germans had been driven
across the Vesle and the salient had been
flattened out.
    Even the best of the critics in the French
press had little idea of what was to follow.
The Germans’ latest offensive had been foiled,
and they had lost the more adventurous
part of their gains in May; but Foch’s suc-
cess was regarded as merely a promising de-
tail, and men discussed the locality of Rup-
precht’s counter-attack. But the signs of
the times did not point in that direction.
On 4 July Americans and Australians fight-
ing side by side had captured Hamel be-
low the Somme. On the 19th the British
had recaptured Meteren at the apex of the
German salient across the Lys, and Merris
fell on the 30th. On the 23rd the French
between Amiens and Montdidier had ad-
vanced two miles on a four-mile front and
captured Mailly-Raineval, Sauvillers, and
Aubvillers in the Avre valley; and on 4 Au-
gust the Germans withdrew from all their
ground to the west of that river. Two days
later they attacked and recovered some of
the ground they had recently lost near Mor-
lancourt. Both the withdrawal and the at-
tack were signs of nervous anticipation, but
neither broke the force of the blow which
Haig struck on 8 August on a twenty-mile
front from Morlancourt to La Neuville on
the Avre. The troops were mostly British
under Rawlinson with a French army under
D´beney cooperating on his right. Their
success first opened the eyes of the pub-
lic to the change in the situation on the
front, and on Ludendorff’s own testimony
deprived him of his last vestige of hope.
It was no weak flank that was attacked,
but the sector of the front that was most
strongly held by German armies. The drive
was straight along the great road from Amiens
to St. Quentin on which the Germans had
made their westward thrust in March; and
the first day saw them seven miles back at
Framerville. To the south they lost Moreuil,
Mezi`res, Demuin, Cayeux, and Caix, and
to the north Morcourt, Cerisy, and Chipilly,
while 7000 prisoners and 100 guns had been
taken by 3 p.m. On the 9th those totals had
risen to 24,000 prisoners and over 200 guns,
while the British continued their advance
to Rosi`res and Lihons, and the French to
Arvillers and Beaufort. Nor was that all;
for south of D´beney, Humbert interposed
with another attack between Montdidier and
the Oise. By the 11th the Germans had lost
to the French most of their gains in the June
offensive, and to the British further ground
between Albert and the Somme.
    On that day the German line ran in front
of Bray, Chaulnes, Roye, and Lassigny to
Ribecourt on the Oise. They had brought
up reinforcements to make a stand on that
shortened front, and they stubbornly con-
tested the French advance on the Lassigny
massif. But its capture was completed by
the 15th, and the number of prisoners had
risen to 33,000 and of captured guns to over
600. The Germans were also being pushed
out of their salient on the Lys, where Merville
fell on the 19th; and Mangin was forcing his
way forward in the angle of the Aisne and
the Oise between Soissons and Noyon. But
the next great blow was struck north of the
Somme by Byng between Albert and Ar-
ras. The Germans sought to evade its force
by a timely retreat across the Ancre, and
there was no such rapid advance as marked
the first day of Rawlinson’s offensive south
of the Somme. But it was less interrupted,
and day by day some progress was made.
Byng’s attack on the 21st was along a ten-
mile front north of the Ancre, and the first
day gave him Beaucourt, Achiet-le-Petit,
Bucquoy, Courcelles, and Moyenneville. On
the 22nd he extended his attack from Al-
bert to the Somme and advanced two miles
to a line between Albert and Bray. On the
23rd his left was advanced another couple
of miles to Boiry, Ervillers, Bihucourt, and
Irles, while on his right the Australians cap-
tured Bray. The German centre at Thiep-
val was thus outflanked on both sides; it
gave way on the 24th, and Byng pushed
on to the outskirts of Bapaume. Bapaume
held out for five days longer while Byng
pushed his right forward along the Somme
towards P´ronne, and extended his left at-
tack northwards beyond the Scarpe.
    Byng’s addition to the pressure the Ger-
mans had to bear from north of the Scarpe
to south of the Oise imposed upon them a
retreat as extensive as that of March and
April 1917; but now they could not make
it at their leisure. On the 27th they had
to abandon the line south of the Somme
on which they had stood since the 15th,
when they recovered stability after Rawlin-
son’s offensive. Roye was relinquished that
day and Chaulnes and Nesle on the 28th.
Noyon followed on the 29th, partly in sym-
pathy with the northern withdrawal and
partly owing to Humbert’s pressure on the
north-western bank of the Oise, but also be-
cause it had been outflanked to the south
by Mangin’s advance between the Oise and
the Aisne. Beginning on the 17th with an
attack on a ten-mile front between Tracy-
le-Val and Vingre he had steadily pushed on
until by the 23rd his left flank held the Oise
as far as its junction with the Ailette and
his front faced the latter canalized river as
far as Guny. By the 29th he was across the
Ailette and threatening to turn the whole
German position south of the Somme at
Chauny. Bapaume fell on the same day as
Noyon, and it soon became clear that the
Somme would not protect the Germans any
more than it had done the British in March.
For on the 31st the Australians stormed
Mount St. Quentin the bulwark of P´ronne,
and P´ronne itself fell into their hands on
1 September. Simultaneously Byng’s army
pressed forward from Bapaume to the Canal
du Nord which runs north from P´ronne.
   But this after all was ground we had
held for a year in 1917-18, and the Hin-
denburg lines might serve the Germans as
well in 1918-19. More significant of the
coming debacle was the success of Horne’s
First Army, which now intervened and ex-
tended the line of Byng’s attack. Already
Canadian and British troops, by the cap-
ture of Vis-en-Artois on the 27th, Boiry on
the 28th, and Haucourt on the 30th, had
seized ground which the Germans had held
since 1914; and on 2 September in one of the
outstanding actions of the campaign Cana-
dian and British troops broke the Drocourt-
Qu´ant line on a front of six miles between
Etaing and Cagnicourt. On that day the
British army fired 943,857 shells. No sin-
gle engagement caused greater depression
in Germany, but the impression was some-
what fallacious; for behind this sector of
the Hindenburg lines were waterways which
were even worse obstacles to our tanks, and
although the Canadians pressed on to L’Ecluse,
Ecourt, and Rumancourt, they were hemmed
in on their left by the Sens´e and in front by
the Canal du Nord, which protected Douai
to the north and Cambrai to the east. The
advance here was checked for some weeks,
but it went steadily on along other fronts.
The salient on the Lys was melting away:
Bailleul fell on 30 August, Mount Kemmel
on the 31st, and Ploegstreet wood on 4 Septem-
ber. Lens was evacuated on the 3rd. South-
west of Cambrai the British were approach-
ing their old lines, and east of the Somme
the Germans were retreating to St. Quentin.
On the 6th the French took Ham and Chauny,
and on the 9th they were once more across
the Crozat canal. Mangin was pushing his
way towards the St. Gobain massif, and
French and American troops were driving
the Germans back from the Vesle across the
Aisne. It looked as though winter might
come with the line of battle much where it
was before the German offensive began in
    But the latter half of September gave
a novel aspect to affairs. A great deal, no
doubt, was due to Foch and the unity of
command; but that unity did not extend to
the East nor account for the debacle of Bul-
garia and Turkey. It was, however, partly
responsible for the extension of our offen-
sive in France beyond the limits of the year
before and for the timing of the American
attack in the Woevre. In the hour of his Al-
lies’ need President Wilson had consented
to the brigading of American with French
and British troops, and to the employment
of American divisions as supports for French
and British generals. But with the Ameri-
can Army growing equal in size to the French
and the British and acquiring an indepen-
dent skill in war, there could be no hesi-
tation about an American command on an
equal footing with the armies of Haig and
P´tain; and to the Americans under Gen-
eral Pershing had been allotted the right
wing of the Allied front, the British form-
ing the left and the French the centre. Some
critics talked of Pershing’s armies being used
as the spear-head of an invasion of Germany
through Lorraine; but this would have been
an eccentric operation, and there were obvi-
ous reasons for restoring Lorraine, if possi-
ble, to France undevastated by war. North
rather than east was the natural direction
for an American advance, and in either case
an indispensable preliminary was to elimi-
nate that strange wedge at St. Mihiel which
the Germans had held since September 1914.
The task would also be a useful appren-
ticeship for an independent American com-
mand. The attack was made on both sides
of the salient on 12 September, but the prin-
cipal drive was from the south on a twelve
miles’ front between Bouconville and Reg-
nieville. Part of the defending force was
Austrian, but the whole salient collapsed
under the blow; 15,000 prisoners and 200
guns were captured, and a new front was
formed on a straight line from Fresnes to
Pont-`-Mousson. The strategic purpose was
to free the American flank and communica-
tions in view of a bigger offensive north-
wards, and on the 15th Austria and Ger-
many began their overtures for peace, to
which President Wilson at once returned an
unsympathetic reply.
    Anticipations as well as achievements coun-
selled that diplomatic move, and Austria
in particular had reason to fear develop-
ments on other fronts than the French. The
Balkans had been quiescent during the sum-
mer, although the Greeks had on 30 May
given an earnest of a better future by a vic-
tory at Skra di Legen, west of the Vardar,
in which they captured 1500 Bulgarian and
German prisoners, and on 18 June the fall
of the pro-German Radoslavoff Ministry in-
dicated that Ferdinand wished to present
a less Teutonic appearance to the world.
Italy, too, in pursuance of her assumed pro-
tectorate over Albania, thought in July that
the time had come to assert herself, and
with the assistance of some French troops
began an advance towards Elbasan. The
Austrians were taken by surprise, Berat was
captured, and the country overrun as far as
the Semeni and beyond the Devoli. The ef-
fort was not apparently serious; in August
the Austrians returned to the attack, recap-
tured Berat, and drove the Italians back to
their starting-point in a retreat boldly de-
scribed in an Italian official pronouncement
as of no military importance. It helped to
discourage Italy from taking an active part
in the coming offensive against Bulgaria,
but political motives were the principal rea-
son for quiescence. Italy had a tenderness
for Bulgaria arising out of her antipathy
to Jugo-Slavs and Greeks, and while pro-
claiming that Austria must be totally de-
stroyed, she exclaimed against the wicked-
ness and folly of imposing on Bulgaria a
second Peace of Brest-Litovsk (see Map, p.
    The success of the Balkan campaign did
not, however, suffer much from the lack of
Italian push. Franchet d’Esperey was commander-
in-chief, and he was ably seconded by the
Serbian Marshal Mishitch. The Serbian Army
was the spear-head of the attack, and it
had with it an equally eager and effective
force of Jugo-Slavs; with them cooperated
the French on the west of the Vardar, while
east of it were the Greeks and the British
with the arduous and somewhat thankless
task of facing the impregnable Demir Kapu
defile and Belashitza range. The offensive
began on 15 September, and the main at-
tack was on the Dobropolie ridge in the an-
gle between the Tcherna and Vardar rivers.
On the first day the Bulgarian line was bro-
ken on a front of sixteen miles, an advance
was made of five, and 4000 prisoners and
30 guns were taken. On the morrow the
front widened to twenty-two miles, and the
advance increased to twelve; and within a
week the Serbians had cleared the angle be-
tween the rivers and crossed the Tcherna
on their left and the Vardar above Demir
Kapu on their right. This cut the main
Bulgarian communications with Prilep on
the west and Doiran on the east, and com-
pelled a general retreat along a hundred
miles of front. On the 23rd the French occu-
pied Prilep; on the 25th the Serbians cap-
tured Veles and Ishtip and pressed on to-
wards Uskub, while their cavalry were at
Kotchana almost on the Bulgarian frontier.
The British, whose first attacks had been
checked, had actually crossed the border at
Kosturino on the road between Doiran and
Strumnitza. Bulgaria had put her whole
trust in the strength of her front, and with
it she collapsed. An armistice was requested
on the 25th, and Franchet d’Esperey’s terms
were accepted on the 30th. It was the most
dramatic overthrow in the war, and within
a fortnight the whole situation in the Balkans
was transformed. The Serbians were bit-
terly disappointed at having to stay their
avenging hands when almost at the gates of
Sofia; but the elimination of Bulgaria made
the recovery of their country a triumphal
procession varied by the occasional defeat of
Austrian rearguards. On 12 October they
and their allies occupied Nish, and a week
later they had reached the Danube. Nor
was Serbia alone concerned. Austria had re-
lied upon the Bulgarian buckler, and when
it crumpled her entire hold not only on the
Balkans but over her own Jugo-Slav sub-
jects in Bosnia, Dalmatia, and Carinthia
was relaxed. A general uprising of Jugo-
Slavs in favour of union under the Serbian
crown more than doubled the size of that
kingdom which Austria had begun the war
to crush.
    Nor did this exhaust the effects of Bul-
garia’s capitulation. The terms of the armistice
included the Allied occupation of Bulgar-
ian railways, and this brought their mili-
tary front up to the borders of Rumania
on the north and of Turkey on the south.
Presently Marghiloman’s Ministry, which the
Germans had imposed at Bukarest, fell, and
Rumania prepared to resume her part in
the war. Bulgaria, too, was willing to re-
vive her quarrel with Turkey. The famous
corridor had disappeared, and Turkey was
an isolated unit. It was no wonder that
the ”Easterners” looked up again, and the
Prime Minister’s henchmen in the press be-
gan to tell stories about his single-handed
and far-sighted championship of an Eastern
campaign as the solution of the problem of
the war. But the collapse of the Balkan
front was ultimately due to the collapse of
its German foundation. Berlin journalists
talked of the German troops which would
soon bring back Bulgaria to her senses and
to the Teutonic fold. But they were mort-
gaged to the Western front, and instead of
a German expedition to assist her under
Mackensen, Turkey was faced with ruin at
the hands of Allenby.
    His blow had followed swiftly on that of
Franchet d’Esperey, and four days after the
Balkan campaign had opened, British forces
began the battle which was to prove the
most perfect operation of the war. Prepara-
tions had been in progress during the sum-
mer, and little had been done to modify the
British line running a dozen or fifteen miles
north of Jericho, Jerusalem, and Jaffa to
the sea. A Turkish counter-attack on 13
July had even met with some initial success;
but the Turks had been unable to maintain
their strength, the Germans could not assist
them, the Arabs were perpetually harassing
them along the Hedjaz railway, and what
reserves they had were sent on a wild goose
chase for the recovery of Turkish domin-
ion in Caucasia and Persia and along the
shores of the Caspian. The pursuit was ren-
dered attractive by Russian impotence and
anarchy: Armenia was regained and sub-
jected to a final and more extensive mas-
sacre than ever; Northern Persia was over-
run, and even the long and adventurous
arms which the British Empire stretched
out in August from Mesopotamia and In-
dia to the southern and eastern shores of
the Caspian failed to save Baku from the
combined efforts of Turkish troops and Bol-
shevik treachery on 14 September. But Al-
lenby, the luckiest of British generals, brought
down these airy Turkish castles with a sin-
gle blow. He had been largely reinforced
from India, which mobilized during the war
nearly a million men and bore the chief bur-
den of the Palestine and Mesopotamian cam-
paigns; he had got a magnificent force of
cavalry, and with it the terrain and open
fighting wherein to exhibit a model of that
traditional strategy from which the glory
on European battlefields had departed for
   On 19 September his infantry drove the
Turks from a sixteen-mile line between Rafat
and the sea back a dozen miles to the rail-
way junction at Tul Keram, while his cav-
alry burst through to the right towards the
gap south-east of Mount Carmel and the
plain of Esdraelon. It was a rare ride: on
the morrow they were forty miles north and
north- east at El Afuleh, Nazareth, and Beisan;
and then wheeling south-east they cut off
the retreat of nearly the whole of the Turk-
ish forces. On the 22nd Allenby reported
that 25,000 prisoners and 200 guns had been
taken and counted, and that the Seventh
and Eighth Turkish armies had virtually
ceased to exist. The Fourth was pursued
across the Jordan, and mostly mopped up
between its pursuers and the Arabs to the
east. On the 25th we were round the Lake
of Galilee, and the number of prisoners had
risen to 45,000 and of captured guns to nearly
300. There was nothing left to stop our
advance, which was joined by some French
battalions, while the Arabs kept pace on the
other side of the Jordan. On the 28th we
effected a junction with them at Deraa, and
Damascus fell on the 30th. On 6 October
cavalry, advancing between Mts. Lebanon
and Hermon, seized Zahleh and Rayak be-
tween Damascus and Beyrut, which the French
occupied on the 7th, while the British took
Sidon. On the 9th we were at Baalbek, on
the 13th at Tripolis, and on the 15th at
Homs. On the 26th Aleppo fell, and on the
28th we reached Muslimieh, that junction
on the Baghdad railway on which longing
eyes had been cast as the nodal point in
the conflict of German and other ambitions
in the East.
    Allenby played the leading part in Turkey’s
destruction, partly because Marshall’s at-
tention in Mesopotamia had been distracted
towards the Caspian. But in October he re-
sumed his interrupted march up the Tigris:
on the 25th his troops captured Kirkuk and
forced the passage of the Lesser Zab; and
on the 28th they took Kalat Shergat, and
after a six days’ battle forced the Turkish
army on the Tigris to surrender. Turkey
had taken a lot more beating than Bulgaria,
but the end was the same. On 30 Octo-
ber an armistice was signed, which permit-
ted the Allies to occupy the forts on the
Dardanelles and Bosporus and make free
use of the Straits. Marshall entered Mo-
sul, and presently British ships commanded
the Black Sea and British troops were hold-
ing a line across Caucasia to the Caspian
and connecting with the chain of forces es-
tablished between Krasnovodsk and India.
An end was thus put to Germany’s dreams
of a Teutonic- Turco-Turanian avenue into
the heart of Asia, but the search for an
eastern front in Russia against the Central
Empires was elusive. For the Bolsheviks,
in spite of the murder of Count Mirbach
the German ambassador at Moscow on 6
July, grew ever more friendly to the Prus-
sians, and the Entente had to go to Vladi-
vostock for a basis of operations, and rely
largely upon the romantic achievements of
the Czecho-Slovak prisoners who had en-
listed in the Russian armies and refused to
lay down their arms at the Peace of Brest-
Litovsk. At first the Bolsheviks promised
them a passage via Siberia to the West-
ern front, but then, like Pharaoh hardened
their hearts and refused to let the infant na-
tion go. Thereupon the Czecho-Slovaks set
up for themselves, seized the Siberian rail-
way from the Bolsheviks, and after much
hardship and fighting established contact
with the motley Entente forces advancing
from Vladivostock. With their assistance
an anti-Bolshevik government, of which Ad-
miral Koltchak afterwards made himself mas-
ter, was set up in Siberia, while Entente
forces, mostly British, were sent to Archangel
and the Murmansk coast to prevent the Ger-
mans establishing their authority there as
they had done in the Baltic provinces ”lib-
erated” by the Peace of Brest- Litovsk.
    The Conquest Of Syria
    But this Eastern front, which as late as
August was regarded in high but civilian
quarters as indispensable to the Allied suc-
cess, failed to pierce the protection which
the Bolsheviks gave to Germany or to pen-
etrate farther west than the Urals; and Ger-
many had after all to be beaten by pro-
fessional strategists on the Western front.
There was little fault to be found with their
progress, and while Bulgaria, Turkey, and
Austria were collapsing in the East, the Ger-
mans were being steadily driven towards
disaster on a widening field of battle in the
West. Simultaneously with Pershing’s de-
struction of the St. Mihiel salient the British
were thrusting the Germans back to the
Hindenburg lines between Cambrai and St.
Quentin, and Mangin was pushing forward
towards the forest of St. Gobain. The Ger-
mans attempted to stand at Epehy, but on
18-19 September they were driven back with
the loss of 11,750 prisoners and 100 guns;
and from the 27th to the 3Oth was fought
the first phase of the battle for Cambrai
and St. Quentin, in which the British First,
Third, and Fourth armies took 26,500 pris-
oners and 340 guns apart from the gains
of the French. The object was to complete
the breach of the Hindenburg lines on the
strength of which public opinion in Ger-
many was stayed; and it was a critical oper-
ation. The lines themselves were reinforced
by the Canal du Nord protecting Cambrai
and the Scheldt-St. Quentin canal between
Cambrai and St. Quentin.
    The southern sector in front of the Fourth
Army was the more strongly fortified, and
an intense bombardment began on the night
of 26-27 September which continued till the
29th. This tended to divert attention from
the First and Third armies, which on the
27th forced the Canal du Nord south of
Moeuvres and then spread fanwise along
the eastern bank. By the end of the day
they were more than half-way from the Canal
du Nord to Cambrai, and on the 28th the
advance was continued across the Scheldt
canal at Marcoing and broadened from Pal-
luel on the north to Gouzeaucourt on the
south. On the 29th the Fourth Army be-
gan its attack on the canal to the north
of St. Quentin. It was well supported by
several American divisions, and the great
episode of the day was the capture of Bel-
lenglise by troops who crossed the canal
equipped with life-belts, mats, and rafts.
East of Bellenglise, Lehaucourt and Magny
were also stormed, and north of it Nau-
roy and Bellicourt. Meanwhile the Third
Army captured Masni`res and penetrated
into the western outskirts of Cambrai while
the Canadians threatened to outflank it on
the north. On the 30th the Germans had
to withdraw their centre at Villers Guislain
and Gonnelieu, while the Fourth Army ex-
tended its gains southwards by the capture
of Thorigny; and, thus menaced, the Ger-
mans had to abandon St. Quentin to the
French on 1 October. On that day, too,
New Zealanders and British troops took Cr`vecoeur
and Rumilly south of Cambrai, and the Cana-
dians Bl´court to the north of it. The Hin-
denburg line, apart from its tottering sup-
ports, had gone at the moment when Bul-
garia was capitulating; and on the same 30
September Count Hertling and all his Sec-
retaries of State resigned.
    The British victory, while the critical
movement on the Western front, was but
one of the four operations which Foch had
concerted with Haig in the middle of Septem-
ber. The other three were a Belgian at-
tack at Ypres, an American advance on the
Meuse, and a French offensive in close con-
nexion with it in Champagne and the Ar-
gonne. The Belgian attack was an agreeable
surprise, and nothing did more to illumine
the change from 1917 than the contrast be-
tween its rapid success and the painful crawl
of Gough’s campaign. The cause was that
which also accounted for the Germans’ fail-
ure elsewhere; they had not the forces to
sustain their vast and crumbling front, and
they attempted to hold the line in Belgium
with no more than five divisions. The at-
tack began on 28 September on a twenty-
three mile front, and in one day 50 per cent
more ground was covered than had been
gained in three months the year before. The
whole of Houthulst forest, which then had
hardly been touched, was taken at a stroke;
and on the 29th Dixmude fell and the Bel-
gians were across the Roulers-Menin road.
As a consequence of this and of Haig’s ad-
vance the Germans had to evacuate the rest
of the Lys salient and draw back their front
towards Lille and Douai. Armenti`res was
recovered on 3 October, La Bass´e and the
Aubers ridge were abandoned without a strug-
gle, and the Germans surrendered the re-
maining section of the Drocourt-Qu´ant line,
withdrawing to the Douai, Haute Deule, and
Sens´e canals which protected Lille and Douai.
    The French and Americans had a sterner
task in the Argonne and on the Meuse, for
here was the pivot of the Germans’ whole
position in the conquered territory. A pos-
sible retirement to the Meuse had been con-
templated in 1917, and in September 1918
the Germans would have been glad to sur-
render everything west of it in return for
safety on that line; hence their withdrawals
and feeble resistance in Flanders. But the
Meuse from Verdun to Mezi`res was an in-
dispensable flank for any German front in
Belgium; it had now become more to the
Germans than even that, for it was the only
shield behind which their armies could es-
cape disaster and get back to Germany at
all. Whatever else might have to go, this
flank must hold; if it gave, the Germans
would have to capitulate or suffer the whole-
sale destruction of their forces. Hence the
stubbornness of the defence the Americans
encountered; the terrain gave it every ad-
vantage with which art could supplement
nature; and a singular and serious break-
down of their commissariat added to the
difficulties under which American troops fought
with intrepid skill.
   The attack was launched on 26 Septem-
ber. The American front ran for seventeen
miles from Forges on the Meuse, eight miles
north of Verdun, to the centre of the Ar-
gonne, whence the French extended it to
Auberive on the Suippe. Pershing’s First
Army advanced an average depth of seven
miles and captured Varennes, Montfaucon,–
for long the Crown Prince’s headquarters,–
Nantillois, and Dannevoux. Gouraud’s progress
was less rapid but better sustained. His
greatest advance was only three miles, but
it extended along a wider front and devel-
oped during the following days, while the
Americans were held up by defective orga-
nization. Somme-Py and Manre were taken
on the 28th, while on Gouraud’s left Berth-
elot began to move from Reims, and farther
west Mangin pursued the Germans across
the Aisne. Progress along the whole French
front continued in October; Gouraud’s right
pressed on to a level with, and then in ad-
vance of, the American left towards Challerange
and Grandpr´; his centre advanced towards
Machault, and on his left Berthelot took
Loivre, Brimont, and forced the passages of
the Suippe at Bertricourt and Bazancourt,
and of the Aisne at Berry-au-Bac. The Mo-
ronvillers massif was thus outflanked, and
by the middle of the month the Germans
were evacuating the whole of their ground
south of the Aisne. This retreat, coupled
with the French advance east of St. Quentin,
endangered the great apex of the German
front in the St. Gobain forest, and by the
10th its abandonment was begun. On the
11th the Chemin des Dames was relinquished,
on the 13th the French were in La F`re and
Laon, and the Germans were retreating to
the line of the Serre.
    Nevertheless, the advance of the right
wing of the Allied front had not quite come
up to expectations. The prolonged main-
tenance of the German bastion in the Ar-
gonne and on the Meuse enabled their cen-
tre to withdraw more or less at its leisure
and thus avoid the colossal Sedan with which
it was threatened; and, the French centre
having been cast for a part subsidiary to
those of the two wings, the brunt of the
fighting fell upon the British, whose ad-
vance was not so fatal as similar progress
would have been on the other wing. They
were greatly assisted by American divisions
serving with the Third and Fourth armies,
by the Belgians and French on their left,
and by the French on their right; but the
check to the American advance enabled the
Germans– unfortunately for them, as it turned
out–to transfer reinforcements from the Meuse
to Cambrai and Valenciennes.
   Cambrai did not therefore fall until an-
other series of actions had been fought in
the first nine days of October. The Scheldt
canal to the north of it had proved a formidable
obstacle, and Haig determined to press the
attack from the south, where the Fourth
Army had prepared the way on 29 Septem-
ber by destroying the Hindenburg line at
Bellicourt and Bellenglise. On 3 October
Rawlinson attacked again between Le Catelet
and Sequehart and captured those villages,
Gouy, Ramicourt, and the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme
line. On the 4th and 5th further progress
was made by the taking of Beaurevoir and
Montbrehain, while north of Le Catelet the
Germans were driven from their positions
east of the canal, which were occupied by
the Third Army. On the 8th the final phase
in the battle for Cambrai began. The chief
fighting was on the line secured on the 3rd.
An American division captured Brancourt
and Pr´mont, and British divisions Serain,
Villers-Outreaux, and Malincourt north-east
of Le Catelet. New Zealanders south of
Cambrai look Lesdain and Esnes, and three
British divisions Serainvillers, Forenville, and
Niergnies, penetrating the southern outskirts
of Cambrai, while to the north of it Cana-
dians captured Ramillies, crossed the canal
at Point d’Aire and entered the city on that
side. During the night the whole of it fell
into our hands; the Germans were driven
back in disorder to within two miles of Le
Cateau; and Bohain was reached ten miles
east of Bellicourt and a similar distance south-
west of Le Cateau. By the 10th the ad-
vance had been carried to the line of the
Selle river, on which the Germans made an-
other stand, while farther south the French
pushing east of St. Quentin, cleared the
Oise-Sambre canal as far north as Bernot.
On the 10th Le Cateau fell, and by the 13th
the British had gained the west bank of the
Selle as far north as Haspres.
    A great wedge had thus been thrust into
the German line, leaving pronounced salients
to the north of it round Lille and Douai,
and to the south-east of it between the Oise
and the Aisne. It was the policy of the En-
tente to eschew the destruction which fight-
ing in cities involved, and it was particu-
larly desirable to compel the Germans to
retreat from Lille and its industrial neigh-
bourhood by threats of encirclement rather
than by frontal attack. To complete the
process begun on the south, the advance in
the north was now resumed; and on 14 Oc-
tober Belgian forces with a French army un-
der D´goutte and the British Second Army
under Plumer attacked the whole front in
Flanders between Dixmude and the Lys at
Comines. Their success was even more strik-
ing than it had been on 28 September; the
Belgians and French carried Courtemarck,
Roulers, and Iseghem, while the British pushed
along the north bank of the Lys until on the
16th they held it as far as Harlebeke, farther
east than Ostend and even than Bruges. On
the 15th the Belgians captured Thourout
and the British Menin, crossing the Lys at
various points and taking Comines on the
16th. The effect of this advance was to pre-
cipitate a comprehensive German retreat both
north and south. The coveted Belgian coast
had at last to be abandoned: Ostend fell
on the 17th, Zeebrugge and Bruges on the
19th, and by the 21st the Germans were
twenty miles from the sea, striving to stand
on the Lys canal in front of Ghent. To
the south the withdrawal was no less com-
plete: both Lille and Douai were entered
on the 17th; Tourcoing and Roubaix soon
followed; and by the 21st our Second and
Fifth armies had advanced to the Scheldt
on a front of twenty miles, forming nearly
a straight line with the First, Third, and
Fourth on the Selle.
    There the battle had been renewed on
the 17th, as soon as our advancing lines
of communication had been sufficiently re-
paired to bear the strain. The attack was
made south of Le Cateau by the Fourth
Army, employing British and American troops
in co-operation with D´beney’s French armies
on our right. The country was difficult and
the fighting stiff, but by nightfall on the
19th the Germans had been driven across
the Oise and Sambre canal at all points
south of Catillon, and on the 20th the Third
and part of the First armies took up the
struggle on the Selle north of Le Cateau.
Here again it was severe, especially at Neuvilly,
Solesmes, and Haspres, but the whole of
the Selle positions on both banks were se-
cured, while north-east of its junction with
the Scheldt the First Army had occupied
Denain. On the 23rd a combined attack
was made by the Fourth and Third armies,
though progress was limited to the front
north of the bend of the Sambre at Ors. Be-
tween that point and a few miles south of
Valenciennes our troops advanced six miles
up to the outskirts of the forest of Mormal
and Le Quesnoy in spite of the intervening
streams which had been swollen by rain, of
the wooded country, and of the stubborn
resistance of the Germans. These battles of
the Selle between 17-25 October yielded to
British armies alone 21,000 prisoners and
450 guns, and on the 26th Ludendorff re-
signed. Meanwhile the French were grad-
ually squeezing the Germans out of their
salient between the Oise and the Aisne back
upon the Serre. Chalandry and Grandlup,
near that river, were occupied on the 22nd,
and east of the Aisne some progress was
made in the Argonne by the capture of Olizy
and Termes on the 15th; but till nearly the
end of October the Americans west of the
Meuse were held up by their commissariat
difficulties, though east of it they had cap-
tured Brabant and Consenvoye and pushed
forward their line to a level with that on the
western bank.
    It was only on the Meuse and on the Lys
that the enemy front showed the last ves-
tiges of stability at the end of October. The
surrender of Bulgaria had been followed by
that of Turkey, and Austria was on the verge
of collapse. Her hold on the Balkans had
gone, her southern provinces were rising in
sympathy with the Serbian and Jugo-Slav
advance, in the north the Czecho-Slovaks
were preparing to join, and even Hungary
was refusing to supply the starving capi-
tal with food. Unless Italy struck quickly,
Fiume and Trieste and the whole north-
eastern Adriatic coast would pass into the
hands of the insurgents. The moment had
come to forestall the Jugo-Slavs and deliver
a blow which might overthrow the Haps-
burg Empire before it collapsed of itself.
Since the repulse of the Austrian offensive
on the Piave in June, the Italian front had
remained quiescent during the critical months
of the war, though picked Italian divisions
had done good fighting with the French at
Reims, and the Italians in Albania had pur-
sued the Austrian forces after they had been
beaten by the Serbs and French and aban-
doned by the Bulgars. On the night of 23-
24 October the Tenth Italian Army, con-
sisting of two British and two Italian divi-
sions commanded by Lord Cavan, attacked
the island of Grave di Papadopoli in the Pi-
ave and completed its conquest on the 25th
and 26th. Simultaneously Giardino’s Ital-
ians with a French division attacked in the
region of Mt. Grappa, but retired to their
original position after taking a number of
prisoners. On the 25th they were more suc-
cessful, capturing Mt. Pertica and repuls-
ing Austrian counter-attacks on the 26th.
On the 27th the decisive movement began
with Cavan’s crossing of the Piave, and on
the same day the Austrian Government re-
quested Sweden to transmit to President
Wilson an offer which was equivalent to sur-
render. At the front the Austrians contin-
ued to counter-attack very heavily at Mt.
Pertica; but on the Piave they completely
collapsed, and the breach of their line on
the 27th was followed by a disorderly flight.
The booty was colossal, the heterogeneous
troops of the moribund Hapsburg Empire
surrendered wholesale, and on 3 November
their dying government submitted to the
terms of an armistice imposed by General
Diaz. On that day Italians landed at Tri-
este, where insurgents had taken over the
government on 31 October; but an Austrian
Dreadnought at Pola which had hoisted the
Croat revolutionary flag was sunk by the
daring act of two Italian officers.
    Germany now stood alone, and any de-
fence she might otherwise have made on
her frontiers was hopelessly compromised
by the position of her armies on their far-
flung line in France and Belgium. Nemesis
for the invasion of Belgium had at last over-
taken the invader. The problem of with-
drawing in safety was rendered insoluble by
the battles of the first week in November
and the consequent convergence of the Al-
lies on Germany’s remaining lines of com-
munication. The decisive blows were de-
livered right and left by the American and
British wings. Towards the end of Octo-
ber the Americans had surmounted their
difficulties of transport and organization,
and were breaking down the German re-
sistance, which had been weakened by the
transfer of troops to the British front, be-
tween Grandpr´ and the Meuse. On 1 Novem-
ber the German line was broken and the
Americans advanced three or four miles. On
the 2nd they doubled that distance and were
in Buzancy; on the 3rd they repeated their
success, while the French on their left cleared
the Argonne and reached Le Chesne. Ger-
man resistance also broke down on the east
bank of the Meuse, and the Americans made
for Montm´dy. But their advance was most
rapid on the west bank, where on the 7th
they leapt forward to Sedan. The Germans
were thus deprived of their great lateral line
connecting the eastern and western sectors
of their front, and were driven back against
the barrier of the Ardennes; and a great
French offensive into Lorraine was being pre-
pared under Mangin. This provision some-
what weakened the less essential advance of
the French in the centre between the Aisne
and the Oise, but the progress of the Ameri-
can wing left the Germans no option but re-
treat in the centre, and three French armies
under D´beney, Mangin, and Guillaumat
were rapidly converging upon Hirson. The
remains of the Hunding position were taken
on 5 November, and Marle and Guise were
captured farther north-west. Vervins, Mont-
cornet, and R´thel fell on the 6th. Hirson
and Mezi`res were reached and the Belgian
frontier crossed on the 9th. On the 10th the
Italians entered Rocroi, and on the morn-
ing of the 11th the Allies were converging
on Namur.
    This rapid pursuit of the German cen-
tre had been made possible by the coup de
grˆce given to the German armies in the
battle of the Sambre. Haig regarded the
capture of Valenciennes as an essential pre-
liminary, and on 1-2 November corps of the
First and Third armies attacked a six-mile
front to the south of the town. The line of
the Rhonelle was forced and Valenciennes
fell on the 2nd. The line of the Scheldt
was thus turned, and besides falling back
in front towards the forest of Mormal the
Germans had to begin evacuating the Tour-
nai bend of the river. But the decisive blow
was still to come. It was delivered on 4
November by the First, Third, and Fourth
armies on a thirty-mile front, between Va-
lenciennes and Oisy on the Sambre, which
was continued by D´beney’s army south-
wards to the neighbourhood of Guise. In
Haig’s restrained language a great victory
was won which definitely broke the enemy’s
resistance. Nineteen thousand prisoners were
taken on the British front and 5000 on the
French. On the first day Landrecies and Le
Quesnoy fell and half the forest of Mormal
was overrun; and the remaining operations
consisted of a pursuit. On the 7th Bavai
was captured, and Cond´ during the fol-
lowing night; on the 8th our troops were
twelve miles east of Landrecies in Avesnes
and on the outskirts of Maubeuge, which
fell on the 9th. On that day also Tournai
was occupied, and the Second Army cross-
ing the Scheldt on a wide fronting reached
Renaix. On the 10th they were close to Ath
and to Grammont, and early on the 11th
Canadians captured Mons.
    Foch’s Campaign
    The British Army ended the war on the
Western front where it had begun to fight,
and at 11 a.m. on that day the struggle
ceased from end to end of the fighting line
in accordance with an armistice signed six
hours before. Its terms were severe, the
immediate evacuation of all the conquered
territory and withdrawal behind the Rhine,
leaving the whole left bank and all the im-
portant bridgeheads open to Allied occupa-
tion, and a neutral zone on the right bank;
the repatriation of all the transported in-
habitants and Allied prisoners of war; the
quashing of the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and
Bukarest, and the withdrawal of all German
troops from territories formerly belonging
to Russia, Rumania, and Turkey; the sur-
render of thousands of guns, locomotives,
aeroplanes, of all submarines fit for sea, and
of the better part of the German Navy. The
Germans had no choice: their armies were
in flight along roads choked with transport
towards an ever narrowing exit, and they
could only escape if given time, which they
could only obtain by surrender. They yielded
to avoid a Sedan which would have destroyed
their armies as a fighting force. But they
gained one at least of the objects for which
they had fought. The Fatherland was saved
from the abomination of desolation which
the Germans had spread far and wide in
their enemies’ homes; and except for a cor-
ner in East Prussia and another in Alsace,
German soil had remained immune from in-
   The surrender might have had the sav-
ing grace of common sense had it not been
delayed so long; but it required the immi-
nence of military destruction and an inti-
mation from President Wilson that peace
could not be concluded with those who had
made the war, to provoke that revolution
which competent observers had from the
beginning declared to be an inevitable re-
sult of a German defeat. It was precipitated
by an order to the German Fleet to go out
and fight. That again had been anticipated
as a counsel of despair, but few foresaw that
the order would be disobeyed. The Ger-
man genius for organization had tried the
strength of its human material beyond the
limits of endurance. The crews mutinied,
and the spirit of revolt spread in the first
week of November to Kiel and other ports,
and thence throughout the whole of Ger-
many. Every German throne, grand-ducal
or royal, toppled into the dust, and on the
9th the Kaiser abdicated, fleeing like the
Crown Prince to Holland, and leaving it to
a government of Socialists to sign the terms
of surrender. With the imperial crown went
that imperial creation, the German Navy;
and the crowning humiliation was its peace-
ful transference to Scapa Flow on 21 Novem-
ber, to be scuttled by its crews on 21 June
1919. Navies had gone in the past to the
bottom, beaten and wrecked like the Span-
ish Armada, or battered to pieces and sunk
as at Trafalgar; but never yet had Britain’s
sea-power led home a captive fleet with-
out a fight. The curtain rang down on a
fitting scene, a proof beyond all precedent
of British command of the sea, and a yet
more solemn demonstration that the ulti-
mate factor in war consists in a people’s
spirit and not in its iron shards.
    Destruction is easier and more rapid than
construction, and it needs a wiser man and
a longer labour to make peace than war.
War begins with the first blow, but peace
is not made when the fighting stops; and
months were to pass in the troubled twi-
light between the two, with millions of men
under arms, with budgets more suggestive
of war than peace and men’s thoughts more
attuned to a contentious past than prepared
for a peaceful future. The first act of the
British Government was, indeed, to transfer
hostilities from its foes abroad to those at
home, and to rout its domestic enemies at
a general election. The Parliament elected
in 1910 had, after limiting its existence to
five years, extended it during the war to
eight; and the argument for an election and
a fresh mandate for the Peace Conference
would have been irresistible had any Ally
followed our example, had the Government
during the contest given any indication of
the terms of peace it contemplated, and
had the British delegates not been ham-
pered rather than helped by the foolish con-
cessions which ministers made to popular
clamour for the Kaiser’s execution and for
Germany’s payment of the total cost of the
war. There could, indeed, be little discus-
sion on the platform, because on principles
all parties were substantially agreed, and
details were matters for the Conference; and
the election was fought to defeat opposi-
tion, not to the Government’s policy, but
to its personnel. In this the Coalition was
triumphantly successful: three-quarters of
the new members had accepted its coupon,
and of the remainder the largest party con-
sisted of seventy Sinn Feiners who were in
prison or at least pledged not to attend the
House. The Labour group returned some
fifty strong, but Mr. Asquith’s followers
were reduced to thirty. This result was,
however, a triumph of political strategy ma-
nipulating a very transient emotion, the evanes-
cence of which was shown in a series of bye-
elections before the Conference reached its
critical points. It was well for British in-
fluence in the councils of the Allies that it
did not depend upon the vagaries of popu-
lar votes, and it would have been well for
the repute of British statesmen if they had
not had the occasion or the temptation to
indulge in the hectic misrepresentation and
profligate promises of which their election-
eering speeches were full.
    The weight which the various Allies ex-
erted at the Conference depended upon the
services they had rendered to the common
cause and the force they had at their dis-
posal. At the conclusion of the armistice
the British Empire, in addition to its over-
whelming naval preponderance, had over half
a million men in arms more than any other
belligerent. Its total military forces, includ-
ing Dominion and Indian troops and gar-
risons abroad, amounted to 5,680,247 men;
France had 5,075,000; the United States,
3,707,000; Italy, 3,420,000; Germany about
4,500,000; Austria, 2,230,000; while Bul-
garia had had at the end of September half
a million, and Turkey at the end of October
some 400,000. Great Britain and France
had also been fighting since the beginning
of the war, while Italy had joined in May
1915, and the United States in April 1917.
On the other hand, all the European Pow-
ers had reached, if not passed, their merid-
ian of strength, whereas the United States
could with a corresponding effort raise her
forces to over ten millions. Potentially she
was the most powerful of the associated na-
tions, and only the existence of the British
fleet brought any rival up to anything like
equality. Together the United States and
the British Empire were irresistible; and so
long as they were agreed, any concessions
they might make to others would be due,
not to fear, but to their sense of justice,
desire for peace, and consideration for the
susceptibilities of others. The responsibil-
ity for the issue of the Conference rested
therefore upon them to a very special de-
gree; and in spite of unspeakably foolish
and ignorant chatter in reactionary quar-
ters, it was an inestimable advantage that
the British Empire could look to the United
States and President Wilson to bear most
of the odium of insisting upon sound princi-
ples and telling unpalatable truths. Amer-
ica was in the better position to play the
part of the candid friend, because she had
no territorial ambitions to serve and no axe
to grind save that of peaceful competition
in the arts of industry and commerce; and
if European allies occasionally grumbled at
American interference, the reply was ob-
vious that they should have won the war
without waiting for or depending on Amer-
ican intervention.
   In spite of a somewhat weak pretence
to public diplomacy, the secret history of
the Conference is not likely to be known
to this generation; but its decisions were
promptly published, and the attitude of the
various Powers to the principal problems
with which they had to deal was easily dis-
cerned. President Wilson had made a per-
sonal survey of the ground by a visit to Eu-
rope, unprecedented in the history of the
Presidential office, in December, before the
Conference opened at Versailles on 18 Jan-
uary 1919. It was largely owing to his pres-
ence and prestige that in the forefront of the
programme and performance of the Confer-
ence stood a plan for an international or-
ganization for the future avoidance of war,
settlement of disputes, and regulation of labour
conditions. The idea of a League of Na-
tions had made rapid progress as the war
increased in extent, intensity, and horror.
At Christmas 1917 the British Government,
at the instigation of Lord Robert Cecil and
General Smuts, had appointed a commit-
tee to explore the subject, and it had re-
ported in the following summer in favour
of a scheme in which the main stress was
laid upon the avoidance of war. The French
Government had also appointed a commis-
sion which likewise reported favourably in
the summer of 1918: the principal differ-
ence between the two was that the French
commission advocated the establishment of
an organized standing international army.
President Wilson preferred to proceed by
means of more informal discussions with com-
mittees not appointed by his government;
and the American stress was laid rather on
the organization of an international council
and tribunal. The fruitful idea of a manda-
tory system was first publicly advocated by
General Smuts.
   Lord Robert Cecil was charged with the
principal share in accommodating such di-
vergences as existed between the various gov-
ernments on the matter, and remarkable
progress was made, which resulted in Pres-
ident Wilson’s production before the Con-
ference, on 14 February, of a Covenant em-
bodying the scheme for a future League of
Nations. It was subjected to a good deal
of criticism, and party- spirit in America
sought to make capital out of the proposed
abandonment of the self-sufficient isolation
of the United States and the subordination
of the Monroe Doctrine to the interests of
the world and the common judgment of mankind.
In Great Britain there were also those who
preferred the guarantee of a predominant
British navy to the security of any scrap
of paper, and somewhat ignored the fact
that the war had been fought to establish
the sanctity of international obligations. In
France, with her vivid recollection of painful
experience, there was similarly a tendency
to make the most of our military victory
and to base the stability of peace upon the
establishment of military predominance and
the possession of conquests guaranteed by a
permanent anti-German alliance. Italy was
frankly out for all she could get irrespec-
tive of the principles of nationality and self-
determination. A rigorous censorship, not
merely of news from other countries, but
of serious and moderate Italian books on
history and politics, had combined with an
ingenuous self-esteem to produce the popu-
lar conviction that Italy had been the main
factor in the victory of the Entente, and
that the Conference was therefore bound
to concede whatever rewards she might de-
mand in return for her services. She con-
tended that her sentiment for Dalmatia was
as sincere as that of the French for Alsace-
Lorraine, and ignored the difference made
by the fact that Dalmatia was peopled with
Jugo-Slavs. Italy therefore had little sym-
pathy with the Fourteen Points which at
President Wilson’s instigation had been ac-
cepted as the basis of the armistice and the
principles of peace. Finally, Japan had a
special grievance in the reluctance of the
United States to accept the maxim of racial
equality and a special interest in the acqui-
sition of Chinese territory; and prejudice
against her racial claim prejudiced the Ali-
ies’ defence of Chinese territorial integrity.
    These were some of the fundamental dif-
ficulties of the Conference which could only
be settled in part by self-restraint and com-
promise. Much had to be left over to the
patient labours of the future League of Na-
tions in an atmosphere less charged than
the Conference with the passion of war; and
it gradually became evident that, instead of
the League of Nations depending upon the
excellence of the peace it was to guarantee,
the permanence of the peace would depend
upon the capacity of the League of Nations
to remedy its imperfections. The League
emerged as the cardinal factor in the sit-
uation which was to make the vital differ-
ence between the work of the Conference
of 1919 and that of the Congresses of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Re-
flection tended, moreover, to mitigate some
of the objections to the Covenant, though
various of its details were modified in re-
sponse to criticism. Public opinion in the
United States rallied to the argument that
America would be stultifying herself if, af-
ter entering the war to win it and make
the world safe for democracy, she refused
to participate in the only means of making
the peace tolerable and permanent; and it
was recognized that the Monroe Doctrine
was not so much being superseded as ex-
panded from America to cover all the world.
British reliance on sea-power was likewise
somewhat impressed by the determination
of the United States, if the League of Na-
tions failed, to build a navy at least equal
to our own, and by the recognition of the
fact that the maintenance of even a two-
Power standard would consequently involve
us in a race for naval armaments more se-
vere than that before the war and preg-
nant with an even greater disaster to the
cause of civilization. French opinion, too,
was gradually modified by the realization
that Great Britain and the United States
could not be expected to sanction a mili-
tarist settlement resembling in its spirit and
its motives the German terms of 1871, or
to guarantee a peace of which their peo-
ple disapproved; and a halting trust in a
League of Nations was fortified by a more
specific guarantee of protection by Great
Britain and the United States against an
unprovoked attack by Germany. Italy, the
youngest of the Great Powers among the
Allies, the least mature in its political wis-
dom, and the most subject before the war to
the influence of German realpolitik, carried
her obstruction to the point of temporar-
ily leaving the Conference in April; but her
delegates returned on finding that the rest
of the Allies were prepared to make peace
without her participation.
    Apart from these conflicts of point of
view, the Conference had infinite trouble to
deal with territories which had been con-
quered and peoples which had been liber-
ated from autocratic yokes. The problem
of races and lands in Africa and in the for-
mer Turkish Empire which were admittedly
unfit for self-government had been simpli-
fied by the happy thought of the manda-
tory system which again depended for its
efficacy upon the idea of a League of Na-
tions. It had long been the claim of the
British Empire, that so far as it was an
empire and not a league of free States, it
was a power held in trust and wielded not
for the benefit of the Government, but of
the governed. It was now proposed to for-
mulate and expand this idea by treating
these conquered lands not as the freeholds
of the conqueror, but as lands to be held
of the League of Nations by a mandate,
for the execution of which the mandatory
would be responsible to the common judg-
ment of the nations. There was some ob-
jection to the proposal on the ground of
national pride and resentment at the idea
of being held responsible; but a juster ap-
preciation led to the reflections that irre-
sponsibility was a Prussian ideal of govern-
ment, that a better cause for national pride
arose from the general confidence in a na-
tion’s integrity implied in the conferment
of the mandate, and that only those whose
deeds were evil need fear the intrusion of
international light upon their methods of
administration. To be able to do what one
liked with one’s own was a baser ambition
than to satisfy the conscience of mankind
that one was making the best use of the
talents with which one had been entrusted;
and the general approbation with which the
idea of mandates was received testified bet-
ter than other proceedings in the Confer-
ence to the growth of a sense of common
responsibility for the welfare of mankind.
In this way the administration of German
colonies in Africa was to be entrusted to
Great Britain, France, and the Union of
South Africa; Pacific Islands to Japan, Aus-
tralia, and New Zealand; Mesopotamia and
Palestine to Great Britain, Syria to France,
and parts of Asia Minor to Italy and Greece.
    More difficult was the self- or other de-
termination of those parts of Europe which
had escaped the iron hand of the three great
Empires of Germany, Austria, and Russia.
Alsace-Lorraine would revert by common
consent to France, which was also given the
Saar district for a term of years, not as
a conquest but as a means of recovering
the vast stores of coal and iron of which
the Germans had robbed the French dur-
ing their occupation. Belgium claimed a
small strip on her frontier inhabited mainly
by Belgian people; the self-determination
which Bismarck had promised the Danes
in Schleswig in 1864 was at last accorded
them; and Heligoland was dismantled. The
principal difficulties lay on Germany’s east-
ern frontier, where the racial mixture be-
tween Germans and Poles was complicated
by Poland’s claim to a port and access to
the sea, and by the fact that the cession of
Dantzig and the Vistula to Poland would
sever Germany from East Prussia, which
was German in population and had been
under German rule since 1524. Dantzig had
been part of the Polish kingdom down to
the first partition of 1772, but like other
towns in Poland it had for centuries been
inhabited and municipally governed mainly
by Germans and Jews. For Poland was a
kingdom which prolonged feudal conditions
into the eighteenth century; it was a na-
tion of serfs and landlords, and its com-
merce and industry, and therefore its towns,
had been left for German and Jewish im-
migrants to develop. The corridor to the
sea with most of Posen was eventually given
to Poland, while parts of East Prussia and
Upper Silesia were subjected to plebiscites
which promised a similar result; but, like
other territorial arrangements in central and
eastern Europe, it was a settlement which
could never prove satisfactory until racial
antagonisms were modified by good govern-
ment, and it became possible for different
nationalities to live together in a State in
Europe with as little sense of injustice and
exploitation as immigrants in the United
States of America.
    As some offset to these losses of alien
subjects, Germany hoped for an increase of
population by the accession of German Aus-
tria (including the Tyrol) and the German
fringes of Bohemia. The mountain ranges
which ringed in Bohemia to the east, north,
and west had, however, always been her
boundaries, and were too natural a fron-
tier to be surrendered by the new State of
Czecho-Slovakia, the future independence
of which had been recognized in 1918 as
a testimony to the services rendered to the
Entente by the Czecho-Slovak troops in Siberia
and Russia; while conflicting views in Ger-
man Austria, combined with the reluctance
of France to see Germany aggrandized, post-
poned this reunion of German-speaking peo-
ples, and left German Austria the weakest
of the central European States into which
the Hapsburg Empire dissolved. Hungary
became entirely independent, but was shorn
of her Rumanian, Serb, and Croat appanages.
Rumanian troops held Transylvania, most
of the Bukovina, and a slice of Hungary.
Croatia and Carniola, like Bosnia, Herze-
govina, and the previously independent Mon-
tenegro had already combined with Serbia
to form a great Jugo-Slav kingdom stretch-
ing from north of Laibach to the south of
Monastir, and from the Adriatic to the Danube.
The Trentino, Trieste, and Pola had been
occupied by Italy, but the future of Dalma-
tia, Fiume, and the islands in the Adriatic
was the greatest bone of contention at the
Conference, and their disposal was almost
indefinitely postponed.
    The gravest of all the problems which
confronted the victorious Powers arose in
connexion with their former ally, Russia,
whose condition presented almost as many
obstacles to peace as it had done to the suc-
cessful prosecution of war. There was, how-
ever, one countervailing advantage of incal-
culable value. Had the imperialist Tsar-
dom emerged triumphant from the strug-
gle, the reactionary forces at the Conference
would have been enormously strengthened;
little would probably have been heard of
the independence of Poland; Constantino-
ple would have fallen into Russian hands;
the Balkans and Asia Minor would have be-
come, in fact if not in name, Russian protec-
torates; and there would have been found
little scope for self-determination along the
shores of the Baltic or in Eastern Europe.
The great war of liberation would proba-
bly have resulted merely in the substitution
of Russia for Germany as a greater menace
to the independence of little nations and
to the peace of the world. Nevertheless,
the problems imposed upon the Conference
by warring factions in Russia proper, by
discordant races emancipated from Russian
domination and pursuing their own conflict-
ing ambitions, and by the folly of the Al-
lies themselves in ignoring the principle im-
pressed upon them since 1917, that it was
legitimate to assist Russians against the Ger-
mans but not against one another, were ha-
rassing enough. The half-hearted, disingen-
uous, and misguided military efforts made
by the Allies in Russia introduced alien ir-
ritants into the domestic situation and pro-
longed that painful process of internal evo-
lution which could alone produce a satis-
factory solution in a stable Russian gov-
ernment. If the responsible Allied states-
men had studied the history of previous at-
tempts to impose particular governments
on independent peoples by the force of arms,
they would have been even more reluctant
to attempt a repetition of the experiment in
Russia. As it was, their efforts were ham-
pered by their own subjects and Allies. The
United States stood aloof; French soldiers
and sailors refused to fight against Bolshe-
viks at Odessa; Italy did nothing; and the
burden of an unwise policy was left to Great
Britain, where not even the systematic ma-
nipulation of news from Russia in the in-
terests of intervention could induce public
opinion to condone more than perfunctory
help to the cause of restoration.
    The fairest guise this policy could as-
sume was defence of the principle of self-
determination, and the assumption was main-
tained that the Russian people were op-
posed to the Soviet government. There would
have been better ground for assisting Finns,
Letts, Esthonians, and Ukrainians against
Bolshevik imperialism; but it was to Koltchak,
Denikin, and their north Russian friends,
rather than to the little peoples that help
was sent, and a powerful motive in the dis-
crimination was the pledge of the Russian
conservatives to resume responsibility for
Russia’s debts to her Allies, particularly France,
which the Bolsheviks had repudiated. What-
ever success might attend this policy would
not be due to its wisdom, and events were
to show that the British Government mis-
judged the Russian situation in 1919 as much
as European monarchies did that of the French
Republic in 1793. The crimes and follies
committed by the Soviet and the Jacobin
governments were equally repulsive, but they
did not make foreign intervention in either
case a sound or successful policy; and the
Allies would have been wiser to confine their
military action to the defence of the nascent
States which had asserted their indepen-
dence of Russia and claimed the right of
self-determination. The clearest case was
that of Finland, which had always since its
acquisition by Russia in the eighteenth cen-
tury protested against its loss of indepen-
dence. In Esthonia and Latvia, which had
passed under the Russian yoke during the
same period, the native movement was com-
plicated by the class ambitions of the Ger-
man barons; and there was a confused tri-
angular struggle between German, Russian,
and native influences, in which the interests
and the principles of the Conference obvi-
ously lay on the side of the native party.
The situation was more obscure in Lithua-
nia. It had been bound by a personal union
of its sovereign with Poland since 1370 and
by a legislative union since 1569. There had
been no conquest on either side any more
than there had been in the personal and leg-
islative unions of England and Scotland in
1603 and 1707; and the problem was rather
one for domestic arrangement than for de-
cision by the Conference. The Ukraine, on
the other hand, had first been conquered
by Poland and then seized by Russia during
the successive partitions of Poland; and it
required the constraint of a superior author-
ity to check the predatory claims of both
those Powers to their dubious inheritance.
    The prospect of dealing successfully with
the manifold problems which confronted the
Conference depended to a large extent upon
the order in which they were tackled. Man-
ifestly they could not be handled simulta-
neously, and the first thing to do was to lay
down the principles not only of the peace,
but of its future adjustment and modifica-
tion by establishing a League of Nations.
When that Covenant had been provision-
ally accepted by the Conference in Febru-
ary, the next step was to settle with Ger-
many; for no provisions for general peace
or the security of new nations could be sat-
isfactory until Germany was bound by ma-
terial and moral guarantees to accept and
to respect them. It was therefore both a
logical and a practical necessity which con-
strained the Conference, after enunciating
the principles of peace in the Covenant, to
deal next with their application to Germany.
    The terms were eventually settled in April
and presented to the German delegation,
which had been invited to Versailles for the
purpose, on 7 May. The conditions were
harsh, in parts vindictive, and in others man-
ifestly inconsistent with any natural inter-
pretation of the Fourteen Points which all
the belligerents had accepted as the basis
of the armistice and consequent peace; and
they were not such as any Power could be
expected to sign without an effort to get
them amended before peace was concluded
or a mental reservation to procure their mod-
ification as soon as might be thereafter. The
German delegates, with Count Brockdorff-
Rantzau at their head, did their best to ex-
pose the inconsistencies between the Allies’
professions and their performance, and to
secure a reconsideration of the more dis-
tasteful terms. An elaborate protest and
counterproposals were delivered early in June
and promptly answered by the Allies. A few
minor points were conceded, but the terms
as a whole were maintained, with an intima-
tion that unless they were accepted at once
as they stood, the Allies would draw the
sword again. Count Brockdorff-Rantzau there-
upon resigned, and Scheidemann’s govern-
ment fell on 20 June. He was succeeded
as Prime Minister by Herr Bauer, and Herr
M¨ller was sent to replace Brockdorff-Rantzau
at Versailles with a mandate to sign the dic-
tated peace. It was signed by Germany and
by all her enemies, with the exception of
China, on 28 June, five years to a day since
the murder at Serajevo; and early in July
it was ratified by a two to one vote of the
German Assembly at Weimar and by the
German President Ebert.
    The Treaty, which filled a volume of over
four hundred pages, had no precedent for its
importance or its bulk. It was an epitome
of the affairs of the world, and its prede-
cessors, the Treaties of Utrecht and Paris,
which ushered in peace early in the eigh-
teenth and nineteenth centuries, were minia-
ture in comparison. The German terms
were an unsatisfactory and comparatively
unimportant part of the Treaty except in so
far as they bound Germany to accept the
principles for which the Allies had fought
the war and upon which they were deter-
mined that the future government of the
world should rest. They were, indeed, not
so much a pact of peace as a punishment
of war; and an idealistic scheme of gov-
ernment by consent started by imposing on
the weaker party conditions with which it
could not but violently disagree. Millions
of Germans in Alsace-Lorraine, Bohemia,
Poland, and East Prussia were transferred
to alien domination; millions of others in
German Austria were denied the right of
self-determination in the form of union with
Germany; cities like Dantzig and Memel,
which were admittedly German, were sev-
ered from Germany on the grounds that
neighbouring districts were not, and that
the economic interests of foreign States re-
quired the severance; and where German
lines of communication crossed those of the
Allies and their friends, the German lines
were cut in order to provide what was re-
garded as an indispensable continuity for
those of their rivals. These and like pro-
visions were due to Allied distrust of Ger-
many and lack of confidence in the efficacy
of their own principles. For if the League of
Nations succeeded in establishing that free-
dom of intercourse at which it professed to
aim, there would be no need for this trans-
fer of control or for the enforcement of ac-
cess to the sea at the expense of the prin-
ciple of self-determination; and these arbi-
trary arrangements on Germany’s eastern
frontier were the counterpart of the special
alliance of Great Britain and the United
States to afford France a protection which
the League of Nations did not immediately
or adequately provide. The judgment of
posterity, which rarely coincides with that
of the parties to a dispute or to a treaty, is
likely to agree with the declaration of Gen-
eral Smuts, after signing the Treaty, that
real peace would not be found in it so much
as in the machinery it created for its own
amendment, and in the spirit which would
in time tone down the passions and prod-
ucts of war.
    But that hope would have been vain with-
out the crushing of Prussian militarism, and
the best justification of the terms imposed
upon Germany is that they sealed the de-
feat of that spirit and annulled its works
in the past since the days of Frederick the
Great. Here at least the Allies worked with
a will and without susceptibilities to concil-
iate. The German army was reduced to an
internal police force of a hundred thousand
men, and meticulous care was taken to pre-
vent the evasion of this exiguous limit. Her
fleet was restricted to six battleships, six
light cruisers, twelve destroyers, and twelve
torpedo-boats; and she was denied submarines
and air-forces altogether. Conscription–despite
the war-time plea of our own conscription-
ists that it had nothing to do with militarism–
was abolished as the head and front of Ger-
many’s offence; and her armaments and mu-
nitions were limited to diminutive propor-
tions. Much of what Germany had won
by the mailed fist–Alsace-Lorraine, Posen,
and West Prussia–was taken away, while
the presumptive Belgian lands of Eupen and
Malmedy, the indubitably German Saar dis-
trict, Danish Schleswig, and disputed ter-
ritories in Upper Silesia and East Prussia
were reserved for determination by plebiscites
held under the auspices of the League of Na-
tions. But the purely German lands which
had been conquered by Prussia’s sword, Hol-
stein, Hanover, Westphalia, most of Sile-
sia, and half of Saxony, were left where the
sword had brought them, presumably on
the ground that popular acquiescence had
condoned the barbarous arbitrament of war.
Reparation was to supplement restitution:
ton for ton the shipping sunk by submarines
was to be made good out of existing Ger-
man tonnage and future construction; and
two thousand million pounds were to be
paid in two years as a first instalment to-
wards the repair of damage done by the
German army in Belgium, France, and else-
where. German colonies were held forfeit on
the double but discrepant counts of the for-
tune of war and the failure of Germany to
govern them according to the standard pro-
fessed by all and practised by some of the
Allies. The gain to their inhabitants con-
sisted to no small extent in the fact that
they were to be administered by mandato-
ries whose responsibility was to be enforced
by an annual report to the League of Na-
tions. Finally, Germany was required to
acquiesce in whatever conditions the vic-
tors might impose on her defeated Allies,
and to surrender for trial whomsoever of
her nationals the Conference might select
to charge with crime in their conduct of the
    In earlier times a treaty of peace was
commonly styled a treaty of peace and amity,
and the whilom belligerents swore eternal
friendship to date from the ratification. Here
there was no pretence to amity, and the
terms of peace were penalties imposed upon
a prisoner at the bar. The justice in the
peace was criminal justice, justice ad hoc
rather than impartial equity. Other nations
than Germany had waged wars of aggres-
sion; and if the breach of 1914 was a crime,
the jury which adjudged it so had criminal
records of their own. Even the British Em-
pire and the United States had not attained
their vast proportions or acquired their sub-
ject populations by the force of argument or
in self-defence. There was no law against
aggression in 1914; all nations were respon-
sible more or less for its non-existence, and
all except Belgium had themselves as well
as Germany to thank for what they suffered
in consequence. These, however, were pre-
cisely the reasons for making a law which
was lacking and a peace for which there
was no precedent. It was Germany who
had taken advantage of the weakness of in-
ternational law and done most to prevent
its growth; and it was fitting that Germany
should pay a corresponding penalty. There
is a wholesome prejudice against retrospec-
tive legislation, but the benefit cannot be
claimed by those who obstructed the legis-
lation because they wanted to pursue the
conduct which it would have made crimi-
nal. Occasions arise which imperatively re-
quire the creation of precedents, and the
time had surely come in 1919 to enforce the
principle that States must observe a moral
code in their relations with one another,
and to assert the responsibility of govern-
ments to that code by imposing penalties
for its breach. For that the Allies had con-
tended throughout the war, and the repudi-
ation of that issue by the Germans was no
ground for their immunity after their de-
    Their claims were not, indeed, consis-
tent. If there was no international code to
which they could be held responsible, there
was none to prevent the Allies from cry-
ing vae victis and using their victory as the
Germans had hoped to use theirs. Their
delegates first pleaded the absence of this
code in order to absolve their former rulers,
and then urged its existence to escape from
punishment themselves. It was a specious
plea that their revolution had acquitted the
German people of the crimes of the Ger-
man Government; but even more pregnant
for the future welfare of mankind than in-
sistence upon the responsibility of govern-
ments to their people was insistence upon
the responsibility of peoples for their gov-
ernment. If the government of Germany
was a criminal government, the fault could
only be charged against the German people;
and it is only when peoples realize that they
will have to pay for the sins of the rulers
they choose or tolerate that there can be
any security in a democratic age for decent
conduct in the relations of governments to
one another. For fifty years the German
people had been content to profit from the
aggressiveness of their government, releas-
ing it from responsibility to domestic opin-
ion and denying its responsibility to any
other tribunal. That negligence on the part
of the Germans to guarantee the respectabil-
ity of their State cost the world thirty mil-
lion casualties and thirty thousand million
pounds; and the debt to humanity could
not be discharged by simply dismissing the
agent who had incurred it. Germany her-
self could not undo the harm she had done
nor restore the more precious losses she had
caused. Repentance was something, and
good conduct would lighten the burden she
had to bear and shorten the term of her iso-
lation. But judgment could not be evaded;
and the majority of the German people showed
good sense in their acceptance of the terms
and in the rapidity with which the treaty
was ratified.
    From German affairs the Conference turned
to those of Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey,
the minor importance of which was indi-
cated by the departure from Versailles of
the principal delegates who had determined
the Covenant of the League and the terms
of the treaty with Germany. President Wil-
son returned to America to secure the re-
luctant consent of the Senate to the settle-
ment he had made; Mr. Lloyd George came
back to England to the less arduous task of
obtaining parliamentary sanction for those
parts of the treaty which required it; and
the further work of the Conference was left
to the foreign ministers and other experts
rather than to Prime Ministers, though M.
Cl´menceau remained to preside, and the
Italian affairs in dispute were vital enough
to require the presence of a full Italian del-
egation. These were concerned with the
liquidation of the Hapsburg Empire, but
not with that fragment of it to which Aus-
tria had been reduced by the recognition of
Czecho-Slovakian independence, the trans-
ference of Galicia to Poland, and the union
of Croats and Slovenes under the Serbian
crown. Deprived of German support by the
German treaty, this little Austria was but a
suppliant at the Conference, and its efforts
were mainly bent towards reducing its share
in the liabilities of the Empire of which it
had once formed part. Hapsburg Govern-
ment was defunct, and it was difficult to
apportion its liabilities fairly among those
who acquired its assets; for some of them,
like the Czechoslovaks and Jugo-Slavs, had
exonerated themselves from complicity for
Hapsburg malfeasance by rebelling against
their government and fighting for the En-
tente. The problem was complicated by a
further revolution in Hungary where a So-
viet Government was established, and Bela
Kun endeavoured to rule after the manner
of Lenin. The Russian Bolsheviks were,
however, unable to help their Hungarian
pupils, in spite of the hesitancy shown by
the Allies in dealing with the situation; and
early in August Bela Kun’s government fell
before domestic reaction and the advance of
the Rumanian army, which occupied Buda-
Pesth. At last Rumania had her revenge,
and it required energetic protests on the
part of Versailles to induce her to recog-
nize its restraining authority, refrain from
reprisals, and regard the spoils of war as
the common assets of the Allies instead of
her own particular booty. She had ample
compensation in the settlement through the
redemption of Rumanes not only from the
Hapsburg-Magyar yoke but from that Rus-
sian yoke in Bessarabia which had dulled
her ardour for the anti-Hapsburg cause.
    These diversions delayed until Septem-
ber the presentation by the Allies of their fi-
nal terms to the Austrian Republic. Its ter-
ritories were reduced to the limits of Aus-
trian lands before the Hapsburg Empire was
created four hundred years ago by the Em-
perors Charles V and Ferdinand I; parts
even of their inheritance were lost, though
the ecclesiastical lands like Salzburg acquired
during the Napoleonic secularization were
retained, and the future of Klagenfurt was
reserved for plebiscitary determination. In-
stead of an Empire Austria became the frag-
ment of a nation, divorced from the rest
of the German people by the fears of the
Entente, required like Germany to forswear
conscription, denied all access to the sea,
and left with regard to the size of its terri-
tories and weakness of its frontiers in much
the same situation as the Serbia she had
attacked in 1914. Protest was as idle as de-
lay, and the treaty which was presented on
2 September was signed on the 10th.
    Nine days later Bulgaria learnt her fate,
and the draft treaty presented to her del-
egates at Versailles on 19 September con-
demned her to pay an indemnity of ninety
millions, to reduce her army to 20,000, and
to lose the town and district of Strumnitza
and the whole of her Ægean coast. Strum-
nitza was given to Serbia, but the Ægean
coast was reserved for disposal with the rest
of Thrace and the remains of the Turkish
empire. Bulgaria herself received a frac-
tion of Turkish territory on the river Mar-
itza, and her frontiers with Rumania were
left unchanged. In the Balkans, as else-
where, the Allies applied the principle of
self-determination only to conquered coun-
tries; none but an Ally was allowed the priv-
ilege of retaining Irelands in subjection, and
in the Balkans at least the victory of the En-
tente increased the populations under alien
rule. Guarantees respecting the rights of
minorities were, indeed, imposed on the lesser
States, but they would have been more ef-
fective and less invidious, had the greater
Powers subjected themselves to the rule they
made for others.
    The Conference found it easier to dis-
pose of its enemies’ lands than to compose
the rivalries of its friends; and the blun-
ders of Italy’s statesmen combined with the
blindness of public opinion to reduce her
to a position of almost pathetic isolation.
Signor Orlando’s abandonment of the Con-
ference in April failed to shake the resis-
tance of the Allies to her extravagant ex-
pectations, and on 20 June, by a remark-
able vote of 229 to 80 in the Italian Cham-
ber, his government was driven from of-
fice. Not only in Italy but in Allied coun-
tries, Italian communities abstained from
celebrating the peace with Germany, and
grave indeed would have been the difficul-
ties of the Conference if the conclusion of
that treaty had depended upon Italy’s sig-
nature. There was friction amounting to
bloodshed between French and Italians at
Fiume, and an Albanian rising against the
protectorate which Italy had proclaimed.
Her resolve to establish Italian domination
along the eastern coasts of the Adriatic evoked
opposition from all the native populations,
who strongly appealed to the sympathies
and principles of the Allies; and her depen-
dence upon them for the necessaries of com-
merce and industry made defiance an im-
possible policy. Gradually her new govern-
ment under Signor Nitti sought to withdraw
from an untenable position; but D’Annunzio’s
raid on Fiume in September once more in-
flamed popular passion, and Dalmatia, the
islands in the Adriatic, Albania, Epirus, and
the Dodecanese were apples of discord be-
tween Italy and the Balkan States which
distracted the Allies throughout the sum-
mer and autumn.
    The settlement was also delayed by the
enormous difficulty of liquidating the Ot-
toman Empire and the reluctance of the
United States to accept the obligation of
mandates in Europe or Asia. The curious
spectacle was afforded of the two great branches
of the Anglo-Saxon race indulging in a ri-
valry of retirement and endeavouring to sad-
dle each other with fresh acquisitions of ter-
ritory; and between them Armenia was al-
most abandoned once more to the Turks
and the Kurds. France was less retiring
in Syria, the inhabitants of which were be-
lieved to prefer to French rule any one of
three alternatives, Arab independence, a man-
date for the United States, or one for Great
Britain; and the anxiety of great Powers
to leave countries where their presence was
wanted was only equalled by their deter-
mination to stay where it was not. French
soreness over the lack of appreciation shown
by the Syrian people was increased by an in-
dependent arrangement between Great Britain
and Persia which gave us as complete a con-
trol over Persian administration as we pos-
sessed in Egypt during the eighties; and it
was somewhat pertinently asked why Persia
should be allowed to dispose of her govern-
ment in this way, while Austria was sternly
forbidden to unite with Germany without
the consent of the League of Nations. The
sovereignty of Persia had, however, been
recognized at Versailles, and the League could
not entrust a mandate for its government
to any other State. It was therefore left for
Persia to secure assistance in its administra-
tion by private treaty dictated by Lord Cur-
zon and traditional views about India, Rus-
sia, and the Persian Gulf. Our patronage of
Koltchak’s government prevented him from
making any protest.
    Russia remained the sphinx of the situ-
ation, and the obscurity of her future dark-
ened the counsels of Versailles. Early in the
war the Entente had acquiesced in all the
imperialist pretensions of the Tsardom to
Constantinople, the Dardanelles, and Asia
Minor; and even after the Revolution the
web of the old diplomacy entangled the feet
of the Allies. Fear of Bolshevism threw
them on to the side of Restoration, and
Restoration at the hands of Koltchak and
Denikin implied a revival of the Russian
Empire at the expense of independent fringes.
The Ukraine, Lithuania, Esthonia, and Latvia,
and even Poland and Finland, looked askance
at such a policy, and naturally could not
be brought into a crusade to carry it out.
The straightforward line to take would have
been to recognize these emancipated States
on the principle of self-determination and
limit our action to their defence. Hatred
and haste had, however, betrayed the Al-
lies into armed intervention in the domes-
tic politics of Russia proper, and commit-
ted them to supporting a cause which had
doubtful chances of success and, if success-
ful, might produce greater embarrassment
for them than defeat. From success they
were saved by Koltchak’s failure. Having
mastered Siberia and made a brave show of
descending on Bolshevist Russia from the
Urals in the spring, he was routed in July
and August and driven back to Omsk, while
Bolshevist forces rose up in his rear. His de-
feat ruined our plans in North Russia, and
at last convinced the Allies of their folly
in seeking to impose a government on the
Russian people; and evacuation became the
order of the day. In South Russia Denikin,
unassisted by foreign legions, met with more
native support and greater success. The
Bolsheviks were driven from the shores of
the Black Sea, and the Ukraine recovered
Kiev. Students of Russian history drew in-
teresting parallels with the Russian Time
of Troubles in the seventeenth century, but
rather neglected the fact that they lasted
thirty years; and the foundations laid at
Versailles had long to wait before the tem-
ple of peace was erected upon them in Rus-
     The Allies themselves were slow to rat-
ify the terms they dictated to others, and
months passed after the German ratifica-
tion before its example of promptness was
followed by the Entente. The British Em-
pire had to await the separate decisions of
all its Dominions; and the Senate of the
United States was led, by the fact that a
majority in it was politically opposed to the
President, to make an even greater use than
was customary of its constitutional powers
of obstruction in foreign policy. Italy rati-
fied the treaty on 7 October; Great Britain,
her four Dominions having assented by 2
October, ratified on the 10th, and France on
the 12th. But the Adriatic and the Baltic,
Russia and the Balkans, Turkey and Syria,
still defied a settlement and delayed the peace;
and the Powers at Versailles discovered that
their apparent omnipotence was impotent
for many purposes. Not one of their peo-
ples was willing to go to war to enforce the
decisions of the Conference, and the sub-
mission of Germany removed the one pos-
sible exception to this rule. Almost against
its own will the Conference was compelled
to act on its own principles and find other
methods than those of military force to set-
tle the problems with which it was faced;
and this situation provided ample scope for
diplomatic recalcitrance and delay. The ad-
vantage was that practice was thus acquired
in the exercise of such economic and other
peine forte et dure as the League of Na-
tions would in future have to use to re-
duce its unruly members to order. Proceed-
ings at Versailles therefore took less and
less the character of a conclusion to the
war and more and more that of an end-
less introduction to a new era. The work
of a temporary Conference to settle terms
of peace was merging into that of a per-
manent League of Nations for maintaining
it; and the world happily got into its in-
ternational habits while its individual gov-
ernments and legislatures were still debat-
ing whether they would fit. Just as before
the war the appearance of peace was de-
ceptive, so the clouds of a storm that was
passed obscured the clearing sky, and filled
the weather-prophets of the platform and
the press with a gloom which the people de-
clined instinctively to share. There were in-
deed symptoms that we, like our forefathers
a century ago, were destined to tread the
downward path from Waterloo to Peter-loo.
The ties of nationality and the stimulus of
patriotism weakened; the home-fires which
kept brightly burning in the war threat-
ened to end in smoke through dissensions
over coal, and men reverted to their an-
cient anarchy of class and craft. Mr. Lloyd
George’s House of Commons, which owed
its existence to past events and to a pass-
ing mood, soon forfeited the confidence of
a fickle public, and the impotence to which
it was reduced left the country prone to
the temptations and a prey to the turbu-
lence of direct and unrepresentative action.
In the absence of effective opposition and
incentive in Parliament nothing constitu-
tional appeared to move the Government,
and an evil example was set when a few
hundred soldiers in January demanded in
Whitehall and obtained their prompt demo-
bilization. The Premier himself, who had
been on Pisgah in September 1914, descended
to a lower level and a dusty arena in his
general election speeches; and animosities
which had been concentrated on the Huns
were dissipated in domestic directions.
    Distance alone will lend discernment to
the view, and only time will reveal the as-
cent of man during the five great years of
war. There will be much backsliding to
measure and record, and the intense agi-
tation of war brought out the worst in the
bad as well as the best in the good. Much
that came to the top was scum, while often
the salt of the earth went under. Treason
blotted the pages illumined by heroism, and
profiteering tarnished peoples redeemed by
the devotion of their sons. Wastefulness
and corruption ran riot even in government
circles, while hundreds of thousands of hum-
ble men and women voluntarily stinted and
starved themselves beyond the rigid require-
ments of the law. Lip-service was paid to
the principle of equality in sacrifice, and
some efforts were made to enforce it. But
they failed to remove the inexorable inequal-
ities of human fate, and the war which brought
death and distress to millions, brought to
others ease and honours, wealth and fame.
These are the common property of wars;
and if men did more evil in this than in
any preceding conflict, it was not because
they were worse than their forefathers, but
because the war was more comprehensive
and they had ampler means of working ill.
Even the cruelty with which it was waged
by the Germans created horror mainly be-
cause they sinned against the higher stan-
dards of modern times, and because their
cruelty found more scientific and effective
methods of expression.
    All the nations which fought believed in
the justice of their cause and fought as a
rule with a courage which belied the alleged
degeneracy of the human race. None of the
Powers save Russia fell short of their previ-
ous fame. France strove at Verdun with a
fortitude in adversity unequalled in her an-
nals. German discipline and determination
would have evoked unstinted praise but for
the cause in which those qualities were dis-
played. Belgium exhibited a national spirit
new in her history, and Serbian heroism was
a revelation which earned for the southern
Slavs the greatest relative gains in the war.
The people of the United States became a
nation of crusaders moved by motives at
least as high as those which inspired the
hearers of Peter the Hermit, Urban II, or St.
Bernard; and the British Empire eclipsed
its own and all other records. History tells
of many a shining example of ancient valour
in individuals and in the elect; but here we
had heroism in the mass and courage in the
common man. Human memory recalls no
parallel to that uprising of the spirit which
led five million Britons to fight as volunteers
for the honour of their country and the lib-
erty of other lands; despite its shortcomings
the Conference of Versailles achieved higher
ideals than those attained by any preceding
congress of peace; and if during the war for
its common weal the world paid, in flesh
and in spirit, a price greater than that ever
paid before, it purchased a larger heritage
of hope and laid a surer foundation for its


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